Well, I knew this wouldn’t go away and it hasn’t. There has been more talk of the Toronto Maple Leafs possibly going after the first overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, which currently belongs to the Florida Panthers. This time, it’s not even someone in the Toronto hockey scene suggesting it.
David Staples of the Edmonton Journal posted the following series of tweets yesterday about what the teams at the top of the draft will do.
I wonder why someone who works in Edmonton would suggest the Leafs being interested in the first overall pick. Yeah, sure, everyone is, but not everyone can afford to trade for it. The Leafs look to be one of those teams.
If the Panthers want to take a winger in the draft, it would be smart to trade down into the 4-8 spots as that’s where the best wingers in the draft are slated to start getting drafted. Of course, it’s also mentioned that they need a defenseman. They could just draft Aaron Ekblad first overall, but what about the wing position? That is why a trade like this works for the Panthers.
Now, whether the Leafs would give up Dion Phaneuf or Jake Gardiner is the question. Gardiner would be the better option for the Panthers long-term, but it’s obvious they want to win now. That’s why Phaneuf is the better option right now. The Panthers’ defense has it’s veterans but it is full of younger players. Phaneuf could bring more experience to them.
Staples mentions that the Leafs would be going after either Sam Bennett or Sam Reinhart. While either of those two centers would be a good pick, I still believer that if the Leafs were to acquire the first overall pick, they would be going after the defenseman Ekblad.
These talks will probably continue right up until the Panthers are about to make that first pick. So that gives us another month to hear about this. This should be fun.