A few weeks back the TLN crew discussed what we’d do with the 15th overall draft pick. Whether we’d trade up, trade down, trade it away completely or just pick with it, every option was covered. Today we’re going a far more basic route, and assuming the Leafs hold onto the pick, and we have to select with it. Now that doesn’t mean we don’t have some wishful thinkers in our midst, and some who might even be reluctant to pick at 15th overall when they’d prefer to either move or down, but for all purposes the pick is 15th overall and we have to use it. Here are our picks…
Jon Steitzer (@jonsteitzer)
I want to play the wishful thinking game, and acknowledge that every year, a can’t miss top 10 pick magically slides down the draft board and some playoff team ends up being able to select a player they have no business drafting. That will probably still happen for the Flyers, because lately it always seems to work out that way. So while I would love to play the Anton Lundell could fall out of the top 10 or top 12 range and the Leafs could grab him. Ditto for Askarov, I’m going to stay grounded in reality and go with the player that was 15th overall on the TLN consensus draft rankings, and take Dylan Holloway.
This was a last minute substitution for me as right up until these words appeared on the screen I was thinking Braden Schneider (this is made worse by the fact I’m wearing a Brandon Wheat Kings shirt while I write this), but I remembered my personal preference of avoiding defensemen in the first round unless it’s painfully obvious you should draft them (Hello Timothy Liljegren) or your organization is in such dire need of a blue chip defender that you should take one.
The Leafs have Rasmus Sandin, Timothy Liljegren, Mikko Kokkonen as strong top tier defensive prospects, and while none of them play the hard nosed physical game that Schneider does, that style can come with a bit of a buyer beware mindset. Trading down, I’d be all over Schneider, but picking at 15, I want a center I believe in, and even more than Jarvis or Mercer, that’s Holloway.
Holloway has the size, and will to use it that is absent from the Leafs middle at present time. And while some of that might be addressed with Filp Hallander, I think having two options isn’t a bad thing. Holloway skates well, and is aware defensively, and even though he’s more of a 2C upside (3C upside if you are playing behind Matthews and Tavares), he has a best player available skillset at a position the Leafs can always use more help at.
Michael Mazzei (@theleafsimo)
If he is still available at #15, the Leafs have to jump on Jake Sanderson. He is one of the best defenceman coming into the draft and appears to be a very attractive piece that the Leafs could really use. Sanderson is blessed with good size and frame, plays well in both ends of the ice, and is just 18-years-old. If he is this good right now, imagine how dangerous he will be once he gets a few years of NCAA play under his belt (he has committed to the University of North Dakota). He does shoot left which the Leafs have plenty of, but his all-around game makes him an attractive target to a lot of teams. Should he fall all the way down to Toronto’s pick, Kyle Dubas will surely be happy to pick one of the top defenders in the draft.
Ryan Hobart (@ryandhobart)
The Leafs should select…. Jan Mysak. He’s played in both the Czech League, where he scored at a similar pace to Hurricanes young star Martin Nečas, and the OHL, where Kyle Dubas seems to feel the most comfortable selecting. My impression is that Mysak has the potential to step into a 3C role within 2 years and eventually be a top 6 player. With the cancellation of the OHL season, we will see him play in the Czech Republic in his draft+1 season, like Nečas did, which hopefully will allow him to grow as a player by playing a big role against men, rather than torching teenagers in junior. It’s always a good idea to build your stock of young centres in your organization, and the Leafs have not taken any significant centers in the draft recently so I think it’s in their best interest to look in Mysak’s direction
If available at 15, The Leafs should draft Seth Jarvis. Sure, it will likely lead to the same regurgitated arguments about how Dubas loves his small guys, but Jarvis’ skill is just too good to pass up. Known primarily for his offensive flare, Jarvis’ has actually developed a strong two way game in his second full season with the Portland Winterhawks, becoming a key player (if not the key player) for one of the WHL’s top teams in 2019/2020. Equally adept at creating plays as he is finishing them, Jarvis could develop into a key offensive contributor for a team looking to replenish a shallow prospect pool.
Nick Richard (@_nickrichard)
If Seth Jarvis is on the board at 15th overall, he would be my choice unless someone like Lundell or Askarov falls for some reason. Given that Brian has already talked about Jarvis, I’ll act as if he’s no longer an option when it’s the Leafs’ turn to pick. In this case, my choice would be Russian forward Rodion Amirov who plays for Salavat Yulaev in the KHL. He is a strong skater who excels in transition while playing a responsible two-way game. Amirov is also a slick puck handler and has good offensive instincts. He has the potential to be a top 6 scoring forward but his hockey IQ and work ethic make him project safely as a two-way middle six winger even if his offensive game doesn’t reach it’s ceiling.
Below you can find some of our draft profiles of picks that we explored in greater detail, including Jarvis, Holloway, Schneider, Amirov, and Askarov. Let us know where we got it wrong and if Nick and Jon are crazy to hold out hope that Lundell could slide to 15th overall.