With their season far behind them now, the Leafs’ and their management are looking ahead to the offseason, and the 2015 draft of course is of prime focus. With much of the talk being focused on the Leafs’ current spot at 4th overall, there is also another pick that could prove very important to the Leafs’ rebuilding efforts.
As you probably recall, the Leafs picked up the Nashville Predators’ first round selection this year in a package of a trade that sent Mike Santorelli and Cody Franson to the Tennessee-based franchise. With Nashville now out of the playoff race, the pick will now sit from 22nd-24th in the opening round of the upcoming draft.
Based on the results up to the end of the first round, here are the rules for the pick, via James Mirtle.
The Predators pick that the Leafs have can be as high as 21st and as low as 24th. Here are the scenarios pic.twitter.com/ar9mVnDvJD
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) April 29, 2015
(Note: After Tampa’s win last night, the 21st pick is no longer attainable.)
With eight teams left, there are many possible scenarios, dependent on the outcomes of the final two rounds. After the top four is set, there will be a concrete answer for where this draft pick will sit in the final order. For the Leafs, it’s probably best that Nashville’s been knocked out already, as a higher pick gives more flexibility compared to a bottom-four selection.
Whether the Leafs will keep this pick or trade it as well remains to be seen, with the possibility of trading down, up, or as part of a package always on the radar. Right now, it’s not the worst place to be drafting for your second pick, and with the right selection and development many late-first round picks have blossomed into very solid NHL players.
Ultimately, acquiring the pick appeared to be a smart one, as it allowed for the Leafs to get an asset out of two expiring contracts, pick up 20-year old Brendan Leipsic who’s managed 21 points in 30 games with the Toronto Marlies so far (regular season and playoffs combined), and most importantly, allowed fans the joy of seeing Olli Jokinen in a Leafs uniform.