It seems that this rumor won’t go away.
A couple of days after tweeting it, Damien Cox has now expanded on the news of the Florida Panthers shopping their No. 1 overall pick. Now he has pointed out that the Toronto Maple Leafs “might want” to look into acquiring the coveted pick.
Just as I did a few days ago, Cox pointed out that this years first overall pick might be easier to trade for than other years. These were his exact words regarding this year’s draft.
To say it’s a weak draft would be wrong. To say it’s a draft absent potential NHL franchise players is closer to the truth, and even more accurate would be to suggest a team might get the best player in the draft with the fifth pick. Or the 10th.
That definitely supports the Panthers wanting to move the pick. That and their win-now attitude.
Cox points out that the Leafs would be wise to inquire about the pick. He also says that while next year would be a better year to target the No. 1 pick, they have to take their chances this year.
As to what it would cost, Cox suggests Jake Gardiner or Nazem Kadri would be going to Florida along with the 8th pick the Leafs currently hold. That would probably be the start of the deal.
Trading Gardiner would actually make lots of sense in this case. If the Leafs were to trade Gardiner in a package for the first pick, the Leafs could then select Aaron Ekblad.
The Leafs have an abundance of offensive defenseman. Essentially trading Gardiner for Ekblad would be a swap of an offensive d-man for a two-way d-man. Ekblad would still be able to give the Leafs some offense while not being as much of a defensive liability as Gardiner.