The Toronto Maple Leafs hold the 15th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
It’s an exciting time of the year to be a Toronto Maple Leafs fan.
After trading away their first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Leafs may be in a similar situation this season. However, until the team actually trades it away let’s assume they’re going to use it to select a prospect.
If you look back through the years of Leafs draft picks, some are incredible and some are busts (*cough, cough, Tyler Biggs*) but that’s going to happen every year. Every year, your favourite team can’t be like the Colorado Avalanche in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft when they picked Matt Duchene, Tyson Barrie and Ryan O’Reilly in three different rounds.
No matter how good a prospect looks in junior, it’s hard to predict what type of player they’re going to be for the next 20 years. That’s what makes the NHL Entry Draft so much fun, yet so difficult at the same time. Every team is taking a chance on an 18-year-old player, hoping that they will develop into a star hockey player. However, if they don’t turn into that star in the next three years, typically they’re traded out or out of the league. Tough business.
The Leafs have fortunately done a great job in terms of drafting and developing players over the past 10 years, and hopefully that trend will continue this year. With their last two first round picks, they’ve drafted two defenseman (Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Lilejgren), who should both be in the Leafs line-up next season.
Before that, the team stacked up on offense drafting Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander with their three first-round picks in a row. As you can see with those selections, the core of a hockey team can be built in the draft and it’s so important to choose the right player. Of those past five first-round picks, I’d say the Leafs did an amazing job and deserve an A+ grade.
Now, let’s look at five players the Leafs should target in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.