Toronto Maple Leafs and the 2021 NHL Entry Draft

Toronto Maple Leafs (Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Maple Leafs (Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs will partake in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft on the 23rd and 24th of this month. 

More specifically, because they have no first round pick, the Toronto Maple Leafs will only participate on the Saturday, the 24.  The Leafs sent their first pick, along with their fourth pick this year and next year, to the Columbus Blue Jackets/ Sharks for Nick Foligno.

This deal worked out horribly because the Leafs lost and Foligno, due to playing hurt in important games, may have hurt the team more than he helped.

However, when judging this deal, we should keep in mind that it was perfectly reasonable when it was made.  The Leafs were paying for a grizzled vet and proven playoff performer who theoretically should have been very helpful to their cause.

Only one team wins, and subsequently most deadline moves don’t pay off, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your best shot, which the Leafs did.  Due to the Sunk Cost Fallacy, whether the Leafs re-sign Foligno  has no affect on whether this trade was good or bad.

If the Toronto Maple Leafs sign Foligno as a free-agent (they likely won’t) that does not make this trade better, and you honestly have to just take it on blind faith that anyone capable of becoming an NHL GM knows what the Sunk Cost Fallacy is and isn’t going to go out of his way to re-sign a player just to make the previous trade better.

Anyways, on to the Draft

Toronto Maple Leafs and the 2021 NHL Entry Draft

The Leafs have only three of seven picks this year.

Their first went in the aforementioned Nick Foligno trade.  They still have their second, and the third went in the Jack Campbell trade.

The Toronto Maple Leafs fourth rounder went to the Sharks for retaining half of Nick Foligno’s salary.  The team still has their fifth and sixth round picks.

The seventh rounder, however is gone. It went to the Bruins last year in exchange for their seventh rounder.

The lack of draft picks may be concerning to some, but the Leafs  have a great farm system and can afford a year or two with not many picks.  Additionally, they’ve proven adept at finding players in other ways.

For example, in recent years the Leafs picked up Ilya Mikheyev, Alex Barabanov and Mikko Lehtonen.   It might not seem like much, but going one-for-three on these players is a better batting average than drafting, and Mikheyev has ended up being more useful than most lower picks. (All draft and trade info from

The bottom line is that when you’re good at recruiting and find players from different avenues (like signing 23 year old Joseph Duszak) the lower picks are more useful as currency.

Next. Leafs Top 10 Prospects. dark

Not to mention that last year the Leafs turned their garbage – a sub-replacement Kasperi Kapanen – into a first rounder AND a prospect, so there is no reason to think they might not be able to add a few picks in the upcoming days before the draft.