Craig Button has Maple Leafs selecting forward Michael Hage in latest first round mock draft

Photo credit:Chicago Steel/twitter
Alex Hobson
25 days ago
Whether you’re dialled into the Stanley Cup Final or eagerly awaiting the draft, we’re headed into a noisy part of the hockey offseason. Depending on how long the Final ends up going, we may have less than a week between the conclusion of the playoffs and the 2024 NHL Draft, which is set to begin on Friday, June 28.
The Maple Leafs currently have the 23rd overall pick in the first round, and while they haven’t been outright linked to any specific player, there have been connections to some including defencemen Stian Solberg, Aron Kiviharju, and E.J. Emery, along with forwards Andrew Basha, Lucas Pettersson, and even Cole Eiserman.
Whether they end up actually using the pick or not is up in the air, but if they do, it’s always fun to keep an eye on mock drafts and see who draft experts expect to see taken in the range of the Leafs’ first-rounder. The latest mock draft to pop up comes from TSN’s Craig Button, who selected players for each Canadian team with a first round pick. In it, he has the Maple Leafs selecting forward Michael Hage from the United States Hockey League (USHL)’s Chicago Steel.
“He can play centre, he can play right wing,” Button said. “He offensive play is sometimes subtle, but really effective. You cannot sleep on him in a game because if you do, that’s when he strikes.”
Hage is a 6-foot-1, 188-pound forward who can play the aforementioned centre or right wing, but primarily plays up the middle. Originally from Mississauga, Ontario, he took the unconventional route of going to the United States for junior hockey, scoring 33 goals and putting up 75 points in 54 games. He’s committed to the University of Michigan, but poised to return to Chicago for one more junior season before making his NCAA debut. He’s a skilled forward, the type of player that tends to age the best when selected in the first round and would fill a hole up the middle behind superstar Auston Matthews. Easton Cowan can play centre but likely projects as a winger at the NHL level due to his size, and while Fraser Minten has some sneaky upside, he’s more than likely to be a middle-six centre in the NHL.
The Leafs have some ties to the Steel as current Toronto Marlies general manager Ryan Hardy is formerly of the same position with the Steel. He won USHL GM of the year in 2018-19. Prospects Nick Abruzzese (2019) and Nicholas Moldenhauer (2022) were both members of the Steel in their draft year, as well.
The Maple Leafs currently have seven picks in this year’s draft, with a first-round pick, a third-round pick, three fifth-round picks, and two seventh-rounders, the most they’ve had in a draft since 2020.

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