Toronto Should Resist The Urge to Trade Down at the Draft

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

This afternoon, Brendan Shanahan said something that made me very happy.

That’s nice.

I’ve been told by a lot of different people lately that the Toronto Maple Leafs really like the Brandon Wheat Kings’ Ivan Provorov. So much so in fact, that they might trade down a couple spots where they still believe they could get him, and pick up an additional asset. I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.

The Leafs wouldn’t be fools to find Provorov particularly intriguing. A 6’0, 200lb left-shooting blueliner, Provorov scored 15 goals and 61 points in 60 games for Brandon this season, his first in the WHL. Many smart people believe that he has the most offensive upside of any defender in the 2015 Draft, and some of them even believe he will develop into the best of the whole draft class (sorry Noah Hanifin).

If Toronto really feels that strongly about Provorov, or any other player for that matter, then I suppose it might make some sense to work out a deal with a team almost immediately behind them, drop down a few spots, get their guy and gain another pick. Even then, there’s no guarantee that the player you covet will still be available if you leave it up to chance.

Really, the Leafs should keep things simple, and keep the 4th overall pick.

Don’t let recent draft hype and hysteria fool you – the talent and depth in this draft is impressive, but it’s not so deep that every team is going to take home a superstar. For all the talk of Provorov and Mathew Barzal and Mikko Rantanen being absolute studs, let’s not forget that none of these hockey players have actually, you know, played hockey for a couple months. Back then, there was a clearly defined consensus top five; one that 25 teams in the league would have loved to move up in.

We all want more picks, but I’m not convinced that the Leafs need more picks at the expense of moving down in the draft order. Acquire those additional assets by moving a Phil Kessel or Tyler Bozak or Dion Phaneuf or Joffrey Lupul. It certainly sounds like Toronto will be able to add enough assets that trading down is unnecessary.

Right now, the Leafs need the best prospect they can get, and they have a better chance of doing that with the fourth pick than they do with the six or seventh or eighth pick. 

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  • CMpuck

    If Phoenix deals 3rd for someone to move up for Hanifin.

    Hello Strome.

    Will take substance over style every draft.

    Dreaming we could trade for an additional pick to take Provorov or Connor.

    No matter who we pick for the love of God don’t be another big dey pass by where the Leafs do nothing on the trade front.

  • Gary Empey

    I can’t see Leafs trading down too far it at all. One would have to be really sure who the other teams are picking. In this years draft there is no clear-cut probable order after #2. Why even the brain trust here at Leaf Nation waffles back and forth every day. I don’t blame anyone for that. There are just too many good players to choose from. Thank goodness Team Shannahan got us a second first round pick.

  • FlareKnight

    If the Leafs try to trade down someone should stuff a Panago pizza into their faces before they can do it.

    Absolutely they shouldn’t entertain the idea of moving down. They sucked hard to get to 4th overall, use the darn pick. Everyone isn’t equal in the draft. Decide on the best guy as far as you can tell and take him.

  • STAN

    One more time – Shanahan and Co. need to get a SECOND pick in the top 8. Somehow.

    Anything less will be disappointing. I mean, MLSE has anointed him the second coming of, of… Scotty Bowman?

    So we should expect him to make some noise and shake up this draft.

    • Kanuunankuula

      Nobody is not gonna give theirs up, that’s the issue. How many top 10 have moved at the draft floor? Before, sure, when the picking order is not yet clear. I’d love to get that second pick in top 8, but it is not just gonna happen.

      Phil’s the only player we’re moving that might fetch that, but I think that trade would just be a bad one for us.

  • giproc

    VAN picked up a 9th overall pick for only Cory Schneider who, while projected as a starter, had less than 100 NHL starts at the time of the trade.

    Schneider had never played more than 33 games in an NHL season so there was doubt whether he could be a bonafide starter. Projected yes, but no guarantee that he could play 60-65 games.

    I’m not convinced that the Leafs don’t have the pieces to pick up a Top 10 pick even if this is considered a much deeper draft when everyone wants to hold onto picks.

    With Kessel, JVR, Phaneuf, Bozak, Lupul and Gardiner all in play, a first between #5 and #15 coming back seems totally doable.