Brian Burke: Which Player Will He Draft?
Should the Leafs finish where they currently sit in the standings Burke can expect to draft seventh overall. If Toronto falters down the final stretch there is a good possibility that they may fall into a lottery pick slot, which could potentially land Burke the number one overall pick.
Luck has never been a friend of the Maple Leafs organization, especially when it comes to the NHL Entry Draft. With that in mind, look for the Maple Leafs to finish just out of a lottery position, which should garner plenty of four letter words from the Leafs Nation.
If Burke was lucky enough to land a lottery pick he would have the option of trading the pick for immediate help, but the odds say he will keep the pick.
As it stands right now, the top five prospects appear to be Nail Yakupov (RW), Mikhail Grigorenko (C/RW), Matthew Dumba (D), Ryan Murphy (D) and Filip Forsberg (LW).
Yakapov is believed to be the apple of every GM’s eye, while Grigorenko, Dumba, Murphy and Forsberg will make a great consolation prize.
Outside of the top five, it appears as if the scouts are at odds as to which players will go six through 10.
With the Maple Leafs expected to draft in the 6th-8th range, there are a few players that could fill any number of needs that the Maple Leafs may have. Make no mistake about it, the Maple Leafs are thin down the middle, but they are also in need of another puck moving defenseman and some additional toughness up front would be a godsend.
With Galchenyuk spending most of this season on the sidelines with an ACL injury there is some risk in drafting him. That said, when you consider his overall talent and the upside he brings to the table there is reason to believe that he could go as high as fifth overall, let alone 6th-8th.
Faksa, a rookie with the Kitchener Rangers, looks to have plenty of offensive tools and at 6’2”, 183 pounds, has the size as well.
In Rielly, Toronto would get one of the best skaters in the draft and another puck moving defensemen, which are hard to come by these days. Rielly has been compared to Scott Niedermayer, which is quite the endorsement.
Of course, Burke could option to trade his pick away. One scenario could see Burke attempt to land additional first round draft picks, sending his top ten pick to the Buffalo Sabres (Currently sitting with the 12th and 26th picks), Washington Capitals (currently sitting with the 13th and 15th picks) or Tampa Bay Lightning (currently sitting with the 9th and 24th picks).
There are plenty of good players available from 10th-20th in the draft, which may allow Burke to entertain making such a move.
Should Burke go through with that kind of scenario he will likely look at players like Belleville Bulls forward Brendan Gaunce (Big body, good hands), Finnish forward Teuvo Teravainen (small frame, very creative and fast) or Ottawa 67’s puck moving defenseman Cody Ceci.
Let’s face it, with so many holes on Burke’s team anything is possible, even trading up to land a better pick.
One thing is for sure, Burke will have a shot at some very impressive talent. Let’s just hope he lands the right player…
Until next time,