23 Options for the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft - Cole Hutson

How funny would this one be, right?
NTDP defenseman Cole Hutson (#23) at the All-American Game
NTDP defenseman Cole Hutson (#23) at the All-American Game / Michael Miller/ISI Photos/GettyImages
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The Toronto Maple Leafs will pick 23rd in this year's NHL Entry Draft.

Because the Toronto Maple Leafs are picking 23rd, we thought it would be a fun idea to profile 23 potential draft picks they could make in that spot leading up to the draft.

Toronto has already gotten in a head start in taking the brothers of their rival Canadiens stars. Cole Caufield's brother, Brock, was a member of the Leafs ECHL affiliate, the Newfoundland Growlers, before the team was folded, later playing for the AHL Toronto Marlies.

The Leafs have also invited the brother of top prospect Lane Hutson, Quinn, to development camp.

You probably shouldn't acquire players because it's funny to do so, but in the case of Cole Hutson, it's a very fair pick to make for the Toronto Maple Leafs. His strong offensive game could see a similar rise to what made brother Lane one of the top prospects in Hockey. Here's why.


Cole Hutson is an American left-handed defenseman. Hutson, like his older brother Lane, a second round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens in 2022, Hutson played for the United States National Team Development Program (NTDP), being a hig-scoring offensive defenseman for the Americans.

Cole had 15 goals, 36 assists & 51 points in 51 games for the NTDP this season. In the same draft year, Lane had 10 gols, 53 assists & 63 points in 60 games. Internationally, Hutson led all defenseman in points at the WJC-U18 for the silver medal winning Americans, netting 4 goals and 13 points in 7 games, a tournament record. Hutson also had the record for draft -1 eligibles with a goal and 12 points last time at the U18's.

Cole is ranked mostly favorable by scouts, ranked 23rd by TSN's Craig Button. 41st by Bob McKenzie, (Lane ranked 40th in 2022) 60th by Corey Pronman of The Athletic, 34th by The Athletic's Scott Wheeler, and 52nd by DobberProspects.

Hutson is consistently producing offense, he's bigger (5'10) than Lane at the same age (5'8 at the draft), and he has better offensive stats than Hutson with the NTDP.

Cole - 112GP 25G 94A 119P Lane - 109GP 15G 75A 90P 0.83PPG

So why isn't Cole a surefire first round pick if Lane has proven he's such a dynamic player, and Cole is taller, more physical and a better point producer?