Marner? Strome? Who did the Leafs pick in Pronman’s Mock Draft?

ESPN’s excellent draft and prospect guru Corey Pronman published his first mock draft today. In addition to the fun that comes with mock drafts from professional hockey people, Pronman’s writeups feature little industry tidbits that are interesting. 

It’s a great read, and his work as a whole is easily worth the cost of becoming an ESPN insider. Click here for the full article.
Based on up-to-date standings, the Leafs pick at 5 and 28. 
The big debate in Toronto right now has been between Dylan Strome and Mitch Marner. Pronman’s pick at 5 answers that, with him predicting the Leafs take Marner.

Marner’s excellent play all season in the OHL has solidified his position as a top-six pick. The rumor across the industry has been Marner to Toronto, but I haven’t been able to nail down if that’s justified based on their draft board or a casual connection to the fact that his former London GM, Mark Hunter, is now running Toronto’s draft.

Neither Strome or Marner are a bad pick, and you could argue based on point production that Marner shows a tiny bit more promise. Marner definitely fits Mark Hunter’s mould (and he is a London Knight), but he isn’t the big C that Toronto has been searching for since Sundin left. 

To me, Strome seems like the obvious pick if he’s on the board, especially if Nylander ends up a winger in the NHL, which seems likely based on his role on the Marlies right now. That said, Marner 123 points in 59 games is absolutely absurd. Whether the Leafs end up with Marner or Strome with their first pick, I won’t be upset.

Who Pronman has the Leafs taking at 28 is more interesting to me, and a bit less obvious. He has them targeting Jeremy Bracco, who is putting up great numbers (64 points in 50 games) in the US Development Program. Again, he is a small, fast, offensive winger/centre that fits Hunter’s profile. 

It’s noteworthy that Pronman suggests the Leafs would take two smallish winger/centres in the first round. I’d have to imagine that whoever they take with their first pick would influence the second pick a lot. Bracco makes a lot of sense as a second pick if they take Strome with the first pick. Bracco makes a bit less sense in my eyes if they grab Marner – leaving the first round with two similar types of players, when you also already have Nylander, seems counterintuitive. 

An additional point – Pronman has the Leafs taking Bracco even with Yevgeni Svechnikov – a big winger having a great year in the QMJHL – still on the board. Svechnikov is a guy I’d love to draft if he’s still available, but he’s a hard guy to pinpoint. He has the skill and size combination that teams covet, but the Russian factor always makes a player’s stock fall. 

Mock drafts are fun. But a mock draft from someone like Pronman is a bigger deal than you or I. Again, click here for the full article. Well worth becoming an Insider for, and there were some other picks that really took me by surprise.

  • Love the mention of Svechnikov! I’ve watched a bunch of his games this season and I would be thrilled to see the Leafs take him with the Nashville pick. Him and Max Lazarev have been the dynamic duo for our Q team this season.

  • CMpuck

    “he isn’t the big C”

    They why take Marner?

    Get a blueliner because our D is God awful without Dion and save yourself from having to buy a UFA stiff down the line that we’ll whine about his contract for it’s duration.

    Marner doesn’t make the Leafs better, it’s just fun so see a points monkey sink or swim. Even if he swims whoooooooo cares?

  • CMpuck

    if we pick 4th overall, marner is what we should be picking. he may end up as another winger but you have to take the best available talent. marner has more upside than strome offensively and he’s more dynamic. he’s a better player. he’s not the big #1 centre but you can’t pass up on a guy compared to patrick kane for a guy who is also very good but only has the advantage of size. marner would be higher in the rankings if he was 6’3 but he’s undersized and is still very high ranked. we’ve seen a lot of small skilled guys turn out to be steals because they slipped. we passed on undersized skilled guys too many times. i think hunter’s connection with marner will help his decision to draft him over strome but that’s only if he’s still availble.

      • I never said that. I said his biggest advantage OVER marner is his size. comparable talent, vision. marner is more dynamic & faster. the biggest thing that separates the two is SIZE. strome’s size is the biggest advantage he has over marner besides maybe being a definitive centre and possibly #1 centre while marner seems to be like nylander. can play centre but will most likely be a winger.

        so woof. you try again.

        • CMpuck

          “he’s not the big #1 centre but you can’t pass up on a guy compared to patrick kane for a guy who is also very good but only has the advantage of size. ”

          ONLY HAS THE ADVANTAGE OF SIZE

          Woof. Woof.

          Abu

      • CMpuck

        Do I have a choice, it’s not like intelligent discourse is an option on this site, despite my best efforts. It’s not barking, I’m just petting the dogs of Leaf Nation.

        Marner exceeds his ceiling… doesn’t make the team better, guys like Marner are the last piece you need not the first for a rebuild. We already have Nylander… let’s trade Rielly for Yakupov while we’re at it.

  • FlareKnight

    The way I see it if we’re still at 4 when the draft comes around there isn’t a bad choice to be made there.

    Marner? Sure, that’s a good pick. That kind of crazy skill is going to help. Offense is not a negative thing despite what we might think at times. You do need to score goals to win some games.

    Of course Strome is really tempting too. He’s also got a lot of skill. Plus the size thing really is something that’s hard to ignore. We’ve been left without that skill and size combination at center in the post-Sundin era. It’s not like you’d be giving up on skill to draft size with that choice.

    Also possible really is Hanifin. Sure he is a consensus pick right now at 3, but not such a lock that you couldn’t see him falling a spot or two if teams decide to go forward. Considering we’re likely moving Phaneuf I don’t see a reason not to consider D there if he’s still on the board.

    The nice thing about being close to the top of the draft is that a lot of the options seem good.