2024 1st-round pick Ben Danford admits he’s been a lifelong, diehard Maple Leafs fan

Ben Danford (Steven Ellis/Daily Faceoff)
Photo credit:Ben Danford (Steven Ellis/Daily Faceoff)
Arun Srinivasan
15 days ago
Ben Danford revelled in the greatest moment of his young career upon being selected by his boyhood club at the 2024 NHL Draft and is intent on winning over fans quickly.
Danford was selected 31st overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night, which has apparently been a lifelong dream. Toronto traded the 23rd overall pick to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for the 31st and 58th picks in this year’s event. Anaheim used the No. 23 pick to select Stian Solberg, a physical defenseman from Norway’s Valerenga Ishockey.
“I’ve been a lifelong diehard Leafs fan,” Danford told Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek. “To get drafted by them, it means that much more. I can’t wait to get started.”
Danford wasn’t alone as his former Oshawa Generals teammate, Beckett Sennecke, was there to cheer him on. Sennecke was selected third overall by the Ducks earlier in the evening.
Danford recorded one goal and 34 points in 64 games with Oshawa last season, before posting four goals and 10 points in 21 playoff games. It’s becoming clear under Wes Clark’s supervision that the Maple Leafs like to target late risers and players that don’t always glimmer in the consensus draft boards. Marek asked Danford for a self-evaluation as well:
“The main thing is that (I’m a) competitive guy. A guy that does anything for the team to win, block shots, can play a two-way game, defense-first and can contribute offensively as well,” Danford told Marek.
Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis listed Danford as the 54th-best prospect in this year’s class. Here’s what Ellis wrote about Danford:
For a defenseman with Danford’s offensive abilities, it’s crazy he had just one goal during the regular season with Oshawa. But he’s a guy his teammates like to rely on because he’s rarely caught making a mistake distributing the puck. I’ve seen Danford play both sides on the blueline this year but I think he’s got something going on the left side – it fits his shot better.
In case you missed it, here’s the moment when the Maple Leafs selected Danford:

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