Out with the old, in with the new—it’s something the Maple Leafs are constantly looking at doing.
But does it make sense for the upcoming draft this summer?
Toronto is, for the foreseeable future, in a window of Stanley Cup contention (or first-round win contention). It’s always wise in this timeframe to take a step back and look at what you have for the future. And at the moment, the Maple Leafs only have three draft picks for 2022.
A first, a third, and a seventh.
This year’s NHL draft is arguably the deepest that we’ve had in recent years, so it’s allowed some to be comfortable with Toronto having three picks. Along with that, the Maple Leafs didn’t seem to flinch when making their three picks last year, which has added even more comfortability to the process.
Those picks were solid, too.
But in a draft this good, wouldn’t you rather stretch yourself a little further to get a few more picks? Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas hasn’t been afraid to trade up and down the draft with his picks, yet there has to be another way, and maybe it’s trading a player from the roster.
It’s understandable that a few of these players make sense to keep. There are some, that I think would be worth proposing to a few GMs at the draft, too.
Do you see a problem with letting Alex Kerfoot go for a mid-round pick or two? I’m not sure I do. He provides a lot of value to the Maple Leafs, but his usefulness can be replaced. Plus, in the process, you open up some more cap space for the summer.
You get some picks and some extra money to move around—not a horrible combo.
It’s finding that balance between spending more during the window you have now and keeping some of the goods for later. Many teams often get too greedy with what they have currently and spend all of their future assets on players who might help them today.
Looking at the Florida Panthers in particular, they have no first-round picks until 2025 (unless it’s top-ten, which then means Florida keeps their 2024 pick and would have that). They’ve set themselves up for failure before their downfall even began.
Maple Leafs management wasn’t willing to give up any picks in the first round during this year’s deadline because of what happened with Nick Foligno. Gambles like that can sometimes pay off, but usually they don’t and Toronto clearly see’s that.
Even letting go of Kerfoot for a few picks is a gamble, although it doesn’t come with the biggest risk. If the Maple Leafs are confident that they can snag a player who everyone missed in the later rounds, I believe they’d consider it.
The player going the other way may not even be Kerfoot either. He was really a placeholder more than anything. Bottom line is, if you see something that you believe can help change your team in the near future, why would you not go for it?
If the Maple Leafs wanted to, they could let one player go for picks. It’s just a matter of who, and what it’s worth to them.
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