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If I Did It: The Leafs 2018 Draft

It’s Draft Day and that means I have enough time to cram one more mock draft-ish, rosterbation-y post into your eyeballs before we get to start discussing what the Leafs actually did.

Anyway, we’re going to go pick by pick for the Leafs and discuss who should be taken there. Most of these are wishful thinking. Some of them are absolute reaches, but it’s the filler content you get until something happens for real.

First Round, 25th Overall The Leafs Select…

Ryan McLeod

I can tell you already hate this, especially since James Mirtle has talked about Ryan McLeod as the safe pick the Leafs wouldn’t be making in the Dubas era.

The fact of the matter remains that McLeod could be available around 25, and he’s one of the fastest players in the draft. He’s also been able to put up points in his draft year and seems to be doing everything right.

At the same time he’s still a bit of a project, and the Leafs development team will have some work to do to make sure that his offensive game continues at the pro level, but a speedy center with size should appeal to everyone.

Ideally there will be someone who falls into the late round, and that would be my preference for this pick. Basically if Grigori Denisenko is here, you take him instead.

Second Round, 52th Overall The Leafs Select…

Nicolas Beaudin

This is basically me looking for the best defenseman available, and if there is a run on the defensemen in the first and second rounds, Beaudin might be the best of who’s left at this point.

He needs to work on his skating, but he’s got the mind for controlling the offensive game from the point and could be a future power play quarterback. The Leafs have done well with bringing up the skating of their prospects in the past and could do so again.

Ideally you have someone like Bernard-Docker or Tychonick slide this far and you take a better, quicker version of what Beaudin brings.

Third Round, 83rd Overall The Leafs Select…

Blade Jenkins

Oh how I love Blade Jenkins. I see him potentially as a late first round talent that just needs to get his skating up.

He’s got knocks against him for leaving the USNTDP and then not being able to fully recover from that by playing on a bad OHL team in his draft year, but Jenkins is a sizeable forward who scores and that’s a good thing, especially to find in the third round.

Fourth Round, 118th Overall The Leafs Select…

Bulat Shafigullin

As much as it seems there is a pocket of people who really like Shafigullin, he seems to be very much an off the radar pick and he’s a player the Leafs could find in the fourth.

Shafigullin put up points at a historic pace in the Russian junior league, and earned some 4th line time in the KHL this season. He’s got nothing resembling a defensive game, which seems to be the biggest criticism.

Fifth Round, 149th Overall The Leafs Select…

Lenni Killinen

Admittedly what attracted me to the idea of drafting Killinen is his late birthday, and the fact that the Leafs could have a very young prospect developing in the top Finnish league next season.

Lenni’s offensive game is strong, but he’ll possibly be a Pierre Engvall type project, which has worked out better than I ever expected to for the Leafs.

Seventh Round, 209th Overall The Leafs Select…

Mitchell Gibson

People who know Kyle Dubas’ draft preferences a lot more than I do say he’ll stay clear of goaltenders, and they are probably right. For the most part I agree that it’s a big risk to take one early in the draft, and often even in the middle rounds you’re passing up a decent player in order to take a chance.

That being said, I’ve been a big fan of NAHL developed goaltenders for a number of years, and in the 7th round it seems like bringing one into the fold and letting them get some time in the NCAA for four years isn’t a bad thing.

Seventh Round, 211th Overall The Leafs Select… 

Zach Solow

Solow becomes the token overager on my draft list, but I’m taking him so low that you probably won’t get worked up about it.

Solow has been performing well in the NCAA after being one of the top scorers in the USHL in the previous season. His size has counted against him so far and you could say that he’s so low to the ice that scouts aren’t seeing how well he’s doing.

Anyway, this is a late pick on a good character guy who teams would probably be fighting over as a college free agent in a couple of years.

In Closing…

I think the Leafs will probably do better with Dubas running the draft instead of me. Basically this is my baseline for what I’d look for as a decent draft and would hope to see better, especially considering that the Leafs have assets to move, and the possibility the Leafs will rarely pick where they are presently slated to. The Leafs will do better. Don’t worry.

MLN Draft #Content

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