Since the rumors that the Toronto Maple Leafs have been looking into trading up to the first overall pick has popped up, the prevailing though has been that the Leafs would use that pick to select defenseman Aaron Ekblad. That could still be the case, but there might be another player that the Leafs are interested in.
Hope Smoke transcribed these quotes from Bob McKenzie on Twitter.
Clearly, McKenzie believes that if the Leafs were to move up to the first overall pick, or even the top three, that Sam Bennett would definitely be a target. With the Jonathan Toews comparison, even if Bennett is not as good as him, it’s definitely, as McKenzie says, an intriguing possibility.
Also, lending credence to the rumors that the Leafs are indeed looking to moving up is the news that Mike Zeisberger reported in that the Leafs scheduled a late interview at the recent NHL Draft Combine with one of the top three prospects in the draft.
I would say that narrows it down to Bennett, Ekblad and Sam Reinhart. Obviously, none of those players will be available with the eighth overall selection, where the Leafs currently stand.
According to Zeisberger’s article, a source close to the Leafs at the combine said this…
“Word is, they are exploring moving up — it’s more than due diligence,”
So I think that rules out that the possibility that these rumors are hogwash. Obviously, there are is something happening. Otherwise, why would the Leafs schedule an interview with a player, one that they didn’t originally have one scheduled with, late in the day.
With all these rumors floating around, it looks this won’t stop until the 2014 NHL Draft on June 27.