Brendan Shanahan and Co. are “preparing for many options” with the 24th pick in the NHL Draft.
The Leafs, who are picking fourth overall, are one of a handful of teams with the luxury of having two picks in the opening round of the draft, which kicks off Friday night in Florida.
Shanahan expects to make a selection at No. 4 (most likely Dylan Strome, Noah Hanifan or Mitch Marner depending how the chips fall with the Arizona Coyotes), but the Leafs president is open to trading the 24th pick in an effort to move up or back in the draft.
From the Toronto Sun:
“(Both picks) are in play,” said club president Brendan Shanahan. “We’d answer the phone on just about everything. With the 24th, we’re preparing for many options. We have a cluster of players that we like in that area. We’re trying to prepare ourselves for different scenarios that. We could move up or back.”
So if Toronto does in fact keep the 24th pick, who will be available? In five different mock drafts, some hockey writers and analysts all have different opinions on who the Leafs will select.
Craig Button of TSN has the Leafs taking big, mobile defenceman Gabriel Carlsson at 24. The six-foot-four blue-liner, who played for Linkopiing J20 in Sweden, is the type of shutdown defenceman head coach Mike Babcock covets.
Jeff Marek of Sportsnet has the Leafs picking versatile forward Jake DeBrusk. The Swift Current Broncos prospect netted 42 goals in the Western Hockey League this season. DeBrusk can play the wing or centre —an option the Leafs would love to have if they select the 18-year-old.
Mike Morreale of NHL.com has the Leafs selecting a different Swedish defenceman 24th overall —Jacob Larsson from the Frolunda Jr. team. Larsson, who split time between Sweden’s junior and pro leagues last season, is a left-handed shot with with hockey smarts. According to his bio on NHL.com, the Leafs are listed as his favourite NHL team. Coincidence? We shall see.
Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet has the Leafs taking offensive-minded defenceman Thomas Chabot of Saint John Sea Dogs. Chabot, standing at six-foot-two and 180 pounds, led all Sea Dogs defencemen with 41 points in 66 games played.
Adam Kimelman of NHL.com has the Leafs picking Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Ryan Pilon. The six-foot blue-liner is known mostly for his offensive and puck handling abilities. Pilon scored 11 goals and 52 points for Brandon last season.