dimanche 19 avril 2015

NHL Draft 2015: A Look at Toronto Maple Leafs' Pick

source : bleacherreport.com

The NHL Draft Lottery is complete for this year, and the Toronto Maple Leafs will select at the No. 4 spot, as per NHL.com.

Obviously the Leafs would have loved to have won the lottery and had the No. 1 pick. But at least it was the Edmonton Oilers that won the lottery, a team that was already slotted to pick before the Leafs. Because the Oilers were ahead of the Leafs heading into the lottery, the Leafs did not get bumped down to the No. 5 spot.

While Connor McDavid will be an Edmonton Oiler and Jack Eichel seems destined to join the Buffalo Sabres, the draft order becomes much less clear after that.
Let's take a look at the most likely picks for the Toronto Maple Leafs who should get an excellent player at No. 4.

4. Mitch Marner, Centre, London Knights

Mitch Marner is not a large young man, but his game screams big-time talent. If Marner were two inches taller and weighed another 25 pounds, he would be in the conversation as a top-three pick.

Marner has great vision and explosive speed. He's capable of making great plays at break-neck speed. At 5'11" and 160 pounds, he may have to begin his career on the wing, but he has all the tools to be a No. 1 centre at the NHL level.
Marner earned 126 points in 63 games this season. He finished second in OHL scoring in 2014-15. He has to get stronger, but he has elite puck skills. Players that can put up big numbers at the NHL level are not easy to find.
Expect Marner to get a long look from the Leafs in the coming months.

3. Ivan Provorov, Defenceman, Brandon Wheat Kings

Some Leafs fans might not be interested in adding a defenceman, but Ivan Provorov could change their minds. 

Provorov could end up being the best defenceman out of this draft class. He is a great passer, a wonderful skater and an underrated competitor. Provorov makes the game look easy on most nights.
He's not huge at 6'1" and 200 pounds, but with his skill level, that should be absolutely no issue at the pro level.
Provorov has the toolkit to be a top-pairing defender. He would not be in Toronto in 2015-16, but with the Leafs focused on rebuilding, there's absolutely no need to rush him at all.

2. Noah Hanifin, Defenceman, Boston College

Noah Hanifin played most of his freshman year at Boston College as a 17-year-old. That alone is impressive, but earning 23 points in 37 games is eye-popping. He is 6'3" and over 200 pounds. He will get bigger.

Hanifin has a complete game. He's got good offensive instincts, but is an above-average defender in his own end. He's very agile and has great composure with the puck.

He has improved by leaps and bounds this year. That's a great sign for a young defender.
He isn't likely to make the jump to the NHL next season, but he is a lock to become an impact NHL defender.

1. Dylan Strome, Centre, Erie Otters


Dylan Strome has been playing in the shadow of Connor McDavid, but don't be fooled into thinking that Strome isn't a superb hockey player.

Strome is 6'3" and nearly 200 pounds. The Leafs must continue to add centres, and Strome would be a great pick for the organization. Strome finished with 129 points in the OHL, which earned him the scoring title.

He's got exceptional on-ice vision and anticipates the play extremely well. He also has great reach and can create something out of very little. He's creative and is one of those players that improves his linemates' play.

Strome is a sure bet to be a No. 1 centre at the NHL level. If he's available at No. 4 at the upcoming draft, the Leafs would be well served to select this talented pivot.