Who owns which pick in the 2023 NHL Draft
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By Jon Steitzer2 months ago
It’s that magical time of year. The annual boy auction. Some players will live out their greatest dreams and others will be drafted by the Winnipeg Jets and wait seven years until they can demand a trade. It’s a special time and for Leafs fans it’s an abbreviated special time with Toronto presently only holding three picks. Adding to the complication their General Manager won’t be allowed to sit at their draft table. Perhaps it’s best to keep expectations low.
Nevertheless, one of the things I like to do heading into the draft is take one last look at who owns which draft pick and put it into a handy dandy table that becomes somewhat outdated the second the Coyotes flip their third string goaltender for a 7th round pick. Seriously, I’ll try to update it and tweet it out on Twitter before the draft one last time, but there will be further amendments needed.
The main takeaways that I think are important in this grid are primarily around who owns the most picks, the most firsts, and who is picking around the Leafs.
The Blues have the distinct honour of owning the most 1st round picks with 3. The Blackhawks, and Red Wings having two each is interesting because it is entirely possible that both of those teams could be interested in moving their later picks as the Red Wings are likely ready to look at current roster help as a priority and the Blackhawks might want to build a competitive team around Connor Bedard sooner rather than later. The Blues also fall into that group that could flip at least one of their firsts, but with two of their picks coming in the later part of the round it might not be particularly enticing to teams.
The Coyotes are the only team with two picks within the top 15 and the 12th overall pick minute be the most worthwhile target in the unlikely event the Leafs are looking to move up in the draft.
As for teams with plentiful picks, this is a market the Leafs should be a bit more interested in exploring. With only three picks it wouldn’t be the worst thing for Toronto to find a way of adding a bit more depth to their prospect pool. Nashville, San Jose, and Arizona are all going to need NHL-capable players for their rosters and if the new boss in Toronto isn’t as excited about guys like Conor Timmins, Calle Jarnkrok, and Sam Lafferty as the previous boss was or if there is interest in some of the Marlies, this is something to keep an eye on.
It’s worth noting that even when he has been at the draft table, Brad Treliving’s draft days aren’t particularly spicy, save for his acquisition of Dougie Hamilton when he first joined the Flames.
As for who is picking around the time the Leafs make their selections, Toronto will have St. Louis, San Jose, and the Colorado as the three picks leading into theirs. Toronto falls between St. Louis’ second and third picks of the first round so they might not yet be at the point where they are swinging for the fences on high risk/high reward players. San Jose will have their second pick of the 1st round before the Leafs and they might be a bit more likely to gamble with that pick. Mike Grier’s GM draft track record is based on last year when he was on the job for two days.
The Avs are an interesting lead-in as they haven’t really hit the mark outside when they select at the top of the draft. All things considered, this isn’t a bad group to have select immediately before the Leafs and could potentially lead to some of the better options sliding down the draft board to them.
While the Leafs have a quiet draft ahead of them there are teams set up worse. The Senators only have 5 picks and are without selections in the first or second rounds, not ideal for a non-playoff team. The Lightning only have three late picks after trying to hang on to their playoff success a little while longer. The Oilers also find themselves with only three picks and not selecting in the first round. The Islanders, Kings, Panthers, Bruins, Stars, and Devils round out the list of teams that are without a first round pick this year.
In what will be a defining draft for some teams it seems like a bit more of a formality for the Leafs this year. That doesn’t change the pressure for them to get it right. While Toronto still has Niemela, Hirvonen, Voit, and Minten to follow Knies, only Niemela might have top-of-the-roster potential. If the Leafs don’t leave Nashville with a solid prospect they at least need to trade for a player who can help them now.
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