The 2014 NHL Entry Draft was the start of a rebuild for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Having just hired Brendan Shanahan as the President and Alternate Governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team was about to head into their first true rebuild in team history.
The Leafs had never truly believed in a rebuild. When the team had a high draft pick, it wasn’t on purpose, as their number-one objective was always to win.
However, now that Shanahan was in charge, the idea of a rebuild was something that this team desperately needed, as not only was the team on the ice performing poorly, but their coaching and management was sub-par as well.
After finishing the 2013-14 regular season in a nose-dive, it was surprising to see Randy Carlyle return as the head coach for 2014-15, although his stay didn’t last long.
The Leafs were actually on their way to another playoff spot before finishing the last two months of hockey with a 6-14-1 record, which sent them into the NHL Draft Lottery.
This decline was the best thing that ever could have happened to this team because if they would have magically found their way into another playoff appearance, the likes of Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf could very well have still been on today’s roster, and the Leafs wouldn’t have been able to draft the player they did in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
Speaking of which, thanks to the Leafs failing to make the playoffs, they found themselves with the eighth overall draft pick where they selected William Nylander.
Although there was a lot of debate over Nylander’s contract prior to the 2019-20 season, he’s proved that he’s worth every penny, if not more, and is one of the best young players in the NHL.
Let’s now re-draft the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.