The Toronto Maple Leafs season is over.
The Toronto Maple Leafs lost a hardfought battle to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Leafs were often criticized for being too soft, too small, too focused on skill, not defensive enough etc. but not one person criticized them for not having enough scoring.
So it is with great irony that they lost to a team who saved over 98% of the 5v5 shots they faced over five games.
But as sour of a taste as last night’s game leaves in our mouths, the season is still not over, because the Toronto Maple Leafs – against all logic – are in the running for the 1st overall pick, and the lottery for that pick is happening tonight.
Should the Leafs happen to get the first overall pick, they will take Alexis Lafreniere.
The Leafs were not fortunate, and the New York Rangers have prevailed. Oh well! It was a fun bonus to the season but it was not to be.
A shot at First Overall
Lafreniere is a superstar who can enter the NHL next season and who will be the odds on Calder favorite to win rookie of the year.
The left winger just finished his third year playing for Rimouski Oceanic, in the Q, and had 112 points in 52 games.
For comparison’s sake, Sidney Crosby had 168 points during his last year in the Quebec League.
I don’t think anyone is comparing Lafreniere to Crosby, but he is definitely the biggest ticket draft pick since the last time the Toronto Maple Leafs selected first overall and took Auston Matthews.
With apologies to Nico Hishier, Jack Hughes and Rasmus Dahlin, Lafreniere is going to be better.
He’s the type of player that you tank to get, so obviously picking him during a year when they were legitimate contenders would be a bit weird, but its not like you’re going to say no.
Hypothetically, if the Leafs win this lottery, it will have been worth losing to the Blue Jackets last night. Not to put too fine a point on it, but a team maxed out on the salary cap getting an elite player on a league minimum deal would be pretty much the best case scenario.
In terms of the Leafs hierachy, it would be Matthews first still, but Lafreniere would likely pass Marner and Tavares by the time his ELC is done, if not sooner.
With an excellent core in place, and a new, almost as excellent trio of prospects in Robertson, Sandin and Lafreniere, the Toronto Maple Leafs would be in an incredible position.