Leafs secure best chance at 1st Overall Pick, Auston Matthews

With their 5-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils earlier this evening, the Toronto Maple Leafs have secured the 30th overall position in the standings and the best odds at winning the 1st overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Without a doubt, the top pick this year would be ZSC Lions’ Auston Matthews.

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Matthews made the unique decision to forego both U.S. college and Canadian junior hockey and jump straight to the pros… in Switzerland… this year. He scored 24 goals and 46 points in 36 games this year for the Lions, finishing 10th in NLA scoring. That said, let’s also remember that Matthews missed chunk of his season due to the World Juniors, and his 1.28 points-per-game average ranked second amongst full-time players.

Now, this is all very exciting that the Leafs have the best odds of landing Matthews, who is by all means an excellent, excellent prospect. That said, the Leafs’ odds are still pretty long.

To recap, this year the Draft Lottery includes all 14 non-playoff teams, and the first three draft selections will be decided by the lottery – not just first overall. The Leafs have a 20% chance of winning the lottery and the first overall pick, with the remaining 80% split up amongst the other 13 non-playoff teams.

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Sure, Toronto might have the best odds – but they still only have a 1-in-5 chance of winning.

That said, it’s not all doom and gloom. Finishing 30th overall is still extremely important in that the furthest the Leafs can now fall down the draft order is 4th overall, guaranteeing them one of Matthews, Jesse Puljujarvi, Patrick Laine and Jakob Chychrun – the top four prospects in this draft class according to most of us here at TLN. If you go by Jon’s latest consensus rankings though, you’d have to swap out Chychrun for Matthew Tkachuk. Either way, a guaranteed 4th overall pick is the best Toronto could ask for with this year’s lottery layout, so they’ll take it.

For the full draft lottery odds, Jon also created a full chart for all of your numbers-related needs. He’s such a nice and smart boy, that Jonny.


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  • silentbob

    From this table it appears the Leafs have slightly less than a 50-50 chance of getting their draft choice from the draw (picks 1, 2 3), and slightly higher than 50-50 chance of picking 4th. So flip a coin. If they win pick #1 they take Matthews, if they win pick #2 they take Laine, and if they win pick #3, I wouldn’t want to predict. Not certain they would take Jesse Puljujarvi, the 3rd ranked player on many lists. Wouldn’t surprise me if they took Matt Tkachuk instead. Finally, Leafs will make a top pick for a player with NHL size, they’ve got enough little guys for the next 10 years.

      • MatsSundin#13

        Totally agree Justin…both Tkachuk and Puljujarvi look like big heavy playmakers, but Jesse is doing what he’s doin’ in a MENS league…….that puts him higher in my book (although I like Laine at #2 with that wicked shot)

        • silentbob

          MEN’S league!? Only the lowest quality men’s league in the world, with an nhl equivelency lower than the ohl and slightly higher than the Q! I know they’re not getting as much ice time because of the more experienced players ahead of them but even their rate stats aren’t that great.

          Both are putting up mediocre numbers in a poor league. Neither will be able to be nhl contributors next year. That’s not to say that they couldn’t one day be nhl contributors but they’re nothing to get excited about.

          Both Finns are benefitting from 2 biases: an over reliance on results from 1 tournament and people who think big is necessarily better. Most of Laine and pulijujarvi points at the WJC came on the power play. The Finns had their team picked a year before the tournament even started. While the hockey world powers were having 50 player evaluation camps, the Finns were working on systems, PP and PK. Take away the PP points and the two Finns are not as impressive.

          • Metal thrashin dad

            If you put either of the Finns on a line in “the o” with marner and Dvorak, do you honestly believe that they wouldn’t out produce tkachuk? I’m not a draft expert, and my only reference is seers videos, scouting reports, and the tiny sample size of the world juniors. But I think tkachuk is a product of playing on the best line in the chl.

      • Agreed.. 100%

        Playing on a line with Marner and Dvorak has inflated Tkachuk’s value in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong.. he’s a bonafide top 10 pick – but over Puljujarvi… ummm – no.

        I’m one of the few that would take Puljujarvi over Laine… he reminds me too much of a young Jagr. And I don’t say that lightly…

  • Harold Ballard

    If we get Matthews, do we bother signing Stamkos? Matthews, Nylander and Marner will cost a lot when the time comes to sign them long term. Not to mention Rielly is up this year too.

    • There is an argument to be made, I suppose, that Austin Matthews makes Stamkos a little redundant and very expensive. Maybe both allow you to move a player like Marner, though. It isn’t an issue for three or four years down the road.

    • silentbob


      1) There is no guarentee that and of Nylander, Marner or Matthews develop into top line players
      2) Having Stmakos around during the development of those 3 young players will be extremely valuable.

  • CMpuck

    55% chance at a top three pick? Laine and Puljujarvi are sorely needed in the top six, skilled size wingers will make time and space for Nylander and Marner.

    Wondering if we take Debrincat with either Pittsburgh’s 1st or our 2nd, Hunter loves his OHL point producers.

  • FlareKnight

    In the end it is the best odds one can have in this situation and that’s all you can ask for.

    Plus the extra bonus is the Leafs picking first in every round by finishing last. That is pretty darn helpful. Give Hunter earlier picks.

    Either a very easy selection in the top 3 (Matthews or the Finns), or first choice of any of Chychrun, Tkachuk, Dubois, whoever. Lot of great options at 4 even if it’s not super cut and dry among the various scouting agencies.

  • Kanuunankuula

    Laine is doing really well right now in the playoffs. Puljujärvi (great job on actually spelling it right) was injured and not really doing anything special ATM. For me, it’s clear cut that Laine is #2.

  • Kanuunankuula

    To quote Meg Ryan and Daniel Bryan, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES.

    This is what tank nation has strived for during the long, painful at times season. At worst a fourth pick and better than 50% chance of landing one of the big Fins.

    I got a gut feeling that leaping Lou will try to move up in the draft with that Penguin pick and obtain one of the better rated defenceman.

  • Kanuunankuula

    Pulijujarvi’s stats in SM ligga are virtually identical to Kapanen’s in his draft year. Kapanen so far isn’t even a top six AHL player.

    I just pray we don’t draft 2nd or 3rd and are foolish enough to draft either Finn. Both are so overrated they have disappointment written all over them.

  • Kanuunankuula

    The Finnish Liiga is not NHL, but it is definitely on another planet than the Swiss league where Matthews has been playing. Finland and Switzerland play on different levels, Finland being always close to the top in the Olympics and the World Championships, the Swiss never even close. You can also easily see how fast a player like Barkov has moved from a promising Liiga plyer to an above average NHL player. Everyone will not make it, but Laine and Pulju have a chance as good as Barkov.

    • FlareKnight

      Well to be fair if that’s how you rate Tkachuk then every scouting service and person on the planet is underrating him.

      In no world should an elite complementary player be taken 1st overall.

      • Gary Empey

        We haven’t seen the final scouting reports yet.I would chose Matthews over Tkachuk

        Blood lines, The size of NHL rinks are smaller. The goaltender are harder to score on. The NHl defencemen is something these guys have never come across before.

      • silentbob

        To be fair Tkachuk could end up being one of, if not the best, player out of this draft. Look at 2012, how many people were really high on Morgan Rielly before Burke picked him? The Leafsnation didn’t even rank him in the top 5 Defense prospects, never mind a potential 5th overall talent. None of the mock drafts this site had up – http://theleafsnation.com/2012/6/20/the-leafs-nation-big-board – had the Leafs picking Rielly.

        I’m not trying to be critical of Leafsnation, just pointing out that pre-draft rankings aren’t the end all, be all, last word on these things (otherwise prospects would just be assigned to teams), and MAYBE the Leafs do like Tkachuk, see something in him others don’t (like with Rielly) and will take him. He does seem to tick a lot of boxes for the Leafs.

  • Gary Empey

    Ok here is my reasoning. Anytime you have a chance to draft the best player in the Canadian Hockey League coast to coast I would do it.

    I am not ruling out the possibility that I could be wrong.

  • FlareKnight

    Maybe I’m just dumb but how does three approximately 20% chances (worst case scenarios based on the table) for each of the top 3 picks add up to a near 50/50 chance at picking 4th?

    • silentbob

      No worries, you’d have to have taken a statistics course or maybe finite math. And even then I find these situations tricky to get my head around.

      20% chance at the first pick. OK that’s the easy part.

      That leaves an 80% chance at picking 2nd+.

      With around a 20% chance at getting the 2nd pick IF we don’t pick first, then the actual chance we pick 2nd is 20% x 80% = 16%.

      So the chance we pick 1st or 2nd is not 40%, but actually 36%. That leaves a 64% chance we pick 3rd+.

      With around a 20% chance at getting the 3rd pick IF we don’t pick 1st or 2nd, then the actual chance we pick 3rd is 20% x 64% = 12.8%.

      Add those up, and you get 20%+16%+12.8% = 48.8%.

      Some details are left out. The real odds of picking in the top 3 for us are, I’ve read elsewhere, 52.5%.

      If a team like Boston wins the first pick, our odds go down (because EDM still has a lot of balls in there to steal our pick!). So ideally, if we don’t get the 1st pick, it goes to one of the other teams with high odds.

  • FlareKnight

    How are u guys even talking about taking tkachuk over puljujarvi? Not to mention he is 6’3″ and 190 pounds as a 17 year old (beast) puljujarvi had 17 points in 7 games at the u20 championships and won the scoring title by a wide margin, id take him over laine.

  • silentbob

    Remember when we drafted the 3rd guy on the best young line in the WHL?

    Ryan Johansen

    Nino Niederreiter

    Bradley Ross

    (but they were 1pt/gp players, not 2pt/gp like Tkachuk)