Mock NHL Entry Draft 2022: Toronto Maple Leafs Can Pick a Beauty

Shane Wright #51 of the Kingston Frontenacs (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)
Shane Wright #51 of the Kingston Frontenacs (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
Denton Mateychuk #4 of Canada celebrates his goal during Men’s 6-Team Tournament against Russia at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympics (Photo by RvS.Media/Basile Barbey/Getty Images) /

26th Pick – Toronto Maple Leafs
Denton Mateychuk (D)
5’11”, 187 lbs

The Toronto Maple Leafs are a team of über talented skaters. Many of whom have the ability to create plays and put the puck in the net. Forward depth might not be at the top of General Manager Kyle Dubas’s shopping list. Let’s be clear.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, like every team, will always look to add players who can contribute to making their offense more lethal. However, with this first round pick, focusing on adding an impactful rearguard should help the franchise long term. With this pick, the Toronto Maple Leafs have that opportunity.

That is why, Toronto will draft Denton Mateychuk. He is a 5’11”, 187 lbs, left-shooting defenseman with the Moose Jaw Warriors in the WHL. He has shown in his time playing Major Junior that he isn’t just a reliable defender but can also be force with his offense. Adding a mobile, two-way defenseman would be an ideal fit for the organization.

In October,  Pronman noted in The Athletic, “[Matychuk’s] main strength is his skating. He is so good at closing gaps and skating pucks up the ice due to his great mobility. The questions that will come on him is as a 5-foot-11 defenseman without elite offense is whether his skating is good enough to become a solid NHL player?”

Mateychuk wasn’t able to showcase his skill set for Team Canada at the World Juniors as he had intended. He managed to play in all three of the squad’s games, but his performance was underwhelming in all of them. With his club team, however, Mateychuk has proven that he can be a weapon on offense. This season with the Warriors, he has recorded seven goals and 24 assists for a total of 31 points in 34 games.

The Toronto Maple Leafs could very well be looking at Mateychuk becoming a fixture on both their blue line and powerplay. With a little more time to add more maturity to his game, Toronto could have found a giant addition to their lineup with this 26th pick.