Comparing Bob McKenzie’s Draft List to the Leafs Picks

Almost as exciting as the draft itself is the release of Bob McKenzie’s final draft rankings. While the list is far from the definitive ranking of talent, it is unquestionably the best insight into how NHL teams view the players in the draft class. Bob’s track record for being able to identify the top 30 is the best in the biz, and gives us a more definitive group to debate.

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The 4th Overall Pick

Shockingly, this is the same group that we’ve been looking at since the Leafs 18 wheeler went off the cliff. Hanifin, Marner, and Strome are the names we’ve all come to know so well, and in this instance, it’s Mitch Marner who has the 4th spot behind Noah Hanifin. 

Here’s the writeup on Marner from TSN:



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Exceptional creativity with poise and passing skills that allow him to create offence quickly. He’s elusive and very hard to keep in check because he is constantly in motion. He plays the game in the moment and is quickly responding to opportunity. The best winger in the draft.

Yeah, so that all sounds pretty good. I’d hate to think he’d have a low compete level.

The 24th Overall Pick

Here’s where things start to change up a little. When Justin Fisher looked that THN list and Corey Pronman’s list he produced a list of Colin White, Mitchell Stephens, Jansen Harkins, Jakub Zboril, Thomas Chabot, and Travis Konecny as potential picks between those two services. Looking at McKenzie’s list we now add Brandon Carlo, Joel Eriksson Ek, and Oliver Kylington to that list. 

While personally I’m less than excited about Carlo, Shawn Reis thinks highly enough of him for all of us here at TLN, and you can find his writeup here.

Oliver Kylington was once touted as a top ten pick this year, but has slowly been sliding down the rankings. He’d still be an absolute dream for the Leafs as TSN projects his a 3/4 defenseman who plays a Keith Yandle style and scored a 5 out of 5 for skating.

Eriksson Ek is probably the least known of this group, and is a big Swedish center (those do well in Toronto) but may lack the offensive punch for anyone to get too excited about him. As little value as comparables have, the comparison to Derrick Brassard is a little underwhelming, but a 17 year old playing in the SHL is always a nice thing to see.

The 65th Overall Pick

If there was variance at 24 it should go without saying that it’s difficult to predict who is going to be available at 65th without capturing a much wider range. For the sake of amusement and excitement over the quality that is still available in the early third, let’s look at some of the names available.

Mitchell Vande Sompel is a nice name to see here as it isn’t rare to see his name in the top 30 on other lists, and he’s coming off an excellent post season for the Oshawa Generals. Many of his scores on TSN are similar to those of Kylington, and adding another strong skater to a blueline featuring Rielly and Gardiner would be a dream.

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Austin Wagner is a bit more of what you expect to find in the beginning of the third round. He’s a solid winger who has been able to chip in offence, but there are questions about whether he can do that going forward. You happily draft him, but only if someone like Vande Sompel isn’t sliding to the third.

Finally Adam Musil, who like Nicholas Roy, has the reputation as one of the better defensive minded forwards in the draft. Like Wagner I’m not disappointed if I can find a solid player in the third, but Musil lacks that high end swing for the fences potential of some of the names behind him in the rankings, for example…

Blake Speers. Speers is worth noting because of his connection to Kyle Dubas, and his frequency to appear higher in draft rankings. Where he may be similar in a sense to Musil and Wagner, there is certainly a bias towards him because of his familiarity with the style of hockey the Leafs are hoping to implement. 


At the very least the Callahan comparable is more exciting than the Dwight King comparable for Wagner, and the Andrew Desjardins comparable for Musil.

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  • silentbob

    At 4th I still like Strome (though I won’t be upset if they do take Marner). The same article compared him to Ron Francis and the last line of his Projection was – An elite, complete centre necessary to winning – which is why he’d be my choice. Marner strikes me as a flashy, dynamic producer which is nice to have, while Strome is the type of player that is necessary.

    At 24th, I like Kylington, Chabot and Boeser. I’d be very happy if they picked any one of those 3.

    65th, like you said its almost impossible to predict that far in that draft. I like Musil, he doesn’t have the sexy, high end offensive upside but in 4-5 years being able to call up a player like him is the kind of boost you don’t plan a head for, but is huge when it happens.

  • STAN

    Who knows what Arizona will do, but I’d bet they value Marner over Hanafin, which will make it a Hanafin vs. Strome decision.
    If that plays out they gotta go with defense.
    Old Burkie had a point that you build from the net out, but they he forgot to follow his own advice.

    Still, as I’ve written here before, I’d be disappointing if Shanahan doesn’t maneuver to snag one or two more top ten picks via trade.

  • No need for the Leafs to take Eriksson Ek at 24. From all I’ve read he seems to be very similar to Frederik Gauthier. At the early stages of a rebuild I wouldn’t be wasting a first round pick on a 2-way forward. I’d be okay with taking Oliver Klyington at 24.

  • Bertly83

    The Leafs fans that have a 4th pick crush on Barzal and Provorov can trade down to 8th and 9th (I would have said they go 7th and 8th). I would have said White (16th) goes before 21st, but I would like to see Leafs trade for Buffalo’s 21st, as I thought Zboril (14th) would still be there 20-23rd, while Guryanov (21st) could still be available at 24th. According to McKenzie, there will be no ‘steals’ in this draft. According to him, still available at 24th are Brock Boeser, Jeremy Bracco, Anthony Beauvilier, who should go 20th, 21st, 22nd (they averaged 1.5 PPG).
    He apparently didn’t watch the World Juniors, or U18, or USHL, QMHL, KHL, SEL. Is it really possible that Roope Hintz (58th) could be available in the 3rd round at 65th? Or Rasmus Andersson (59th)? Or 6’4 Jordan Greenway (62th)? Some people have SEL regular Jens Looke and playoffs overtime hero Sebastian Aho going in the 1st round. Also in 3rd 6’4 centers Nicolas Roy and Alexander Dergachev, 6’3 Filip Ahl. Mc Kenzie has the top-scoring draft –eligible European at U18 Alexie Saarela available in the 4th round. Also KHL regulars/World Juniors stalwarts Kiril Piilipenko, and 6’2 D-men Gavrikov, Dimitri Yudin. With Tyler Johnson’s stardom you would think Dante Salituro and Connor Garland and Worlds MVP goalie Godla (and Jeremy Bracco) would get more respect.
    4th and 5th Marner and Hanifin 21st and 24th any of White, Zboril, Guryanov, Bracco, Beauvillier. 3rd round any of Looke/Hintz/Gavrikov, (for PK), 4th round and 4th round any of Saarela, Aho, Yudin, Garland (for PP). 5th round Gauthier clone 6’6 Pavlychev. 6th round Child protégé teen phenom 16 year old at World Juniors Pilipenko 7th round UI8 leading scoring D-man Saajivari.
    Possible forwards: Marner, Guryanov, Bracco, Aho, Saarela, Pavylchev, Garland, Pilipenko
    Possible defencemen: Hanifin, Zboril, Gavrikov, Anderson, Yudin, Saajivari
    except for Pavylchev and Gavrikov, all elite skill and talent

    • Brooksterman

      It’s not just Leafs fans that have a fourth pick crush on Barzal because Mark Hunter has already said in a past interview that other scouts would have Barzal ranked in the top 5 if it wasn’t for him missing a chunk of season due to a knee injury. He basically said he had Barzal ranked right alongside Strome and Marner.

      • CMpuck

        If someone says 5th, that’s one thing, but people who say they take 6’0 defenceman whose o.k. in his own end (not counting the playoffs) Provorov over the biggest, smartest, fastest D-man in the top-ten listed, or center who has the same size, skating and assist/goal ratio and 1 PG as Sam Reinhart, over a human highlight reel who had more PPG than Tavares and Stamkos, it’s not logical. so says McKenzie, anyways

  • Gary Empey

    I originally had Strome, Hanifin, Marner in the order I would want them, recently I changed my mind to Marner, Hanifin, Strome.

    Marner just seems to be too good to pass on if Hanifin goes to Arizona, compared to Patrick Kane. I wouldn’t let size be an issue when you think about how skilled he is.

    If Marner goes to Arizona, I wouldn’t pass on Hanifin. Defense would be pretty set with Rielly/Hanifin followed up by the likes of Gardiner, Finn, Percy, Granberg, Nilsson, and Loov. He is said to be a Keith type defensemen but believes good defense first will lead to offense.

  • CMpuck

    Disagree with Mac on Marner over Strome, do like how high he has Zacha though, still have Provorov ahead of Zacha but Zacha will be a steal for someone IMHO.

  • Gary Empey


    Looking at Justin’s latest poll, at first glance this would be considered one of the greatest polls regarding the draft that was ever created except for one thing. After sober second thought I see one tiny flaw.

    This is the perfect poll for the Coyote’s (Canis latrans) at number three…. As we pick fourth, for Leaf Nation it becomes almost a “Sophie’s Choice”.

    One of either Hanifin, Strome, or Marner will be on the next plane to Arizona.

    We will have to choose between the other two.

    Strome vs Marner

    Strome vs Hanifin

    Marner vs Hanifin