The Toronto Maple Leafs Best Options with the 23rd Pick

There is no shortage of players potentially available for the Leafs with the 23rd overall pick
Russia U20 Hockey team player, Igor Chernyshov (25)
Russia U20 Hockey team player, Igor Chernyshov (25) / SOPA Images/GettyImages
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TRADE THE PICK?

There's a lot of trades that could happen on draft day, and Toronto potentially could join in. Should they? The defensive pool is certainly barren. I don't expect a Mitch Marner trade to happen on the draft floor, but if so, it'll probably take a good bit. I'm not sure anyone in the top-five is selling for him and if so it's probably ot worth it unless Utah can offer a decent package involving the 6th pick.

In terms of moving down, it's interesting if they can get some value out of it. I don't think the Leafs have any bad contracts like they did with Mrazek where they moved from 25th to rid themselves of it. There may be more defense available after 23, but there's still a lot of talent that's hard to pass up on. I don't think the draft is close to equal at 23 vs the second round compared to last year.

THOUGHTS ON THE LEAFS DRAFT

The Toronto Maple Leafs have not shied away from being a bit bold in their recent drafting history. They took Easton Cowan well off the board last year, a move the team surely does not regreeing being risky on. Matthew Knies got taken after sliding in the 2021 draft due to concerns about his character. The move ultimately seems to have worked out as well. The Leafs very well may not take anybody from this list, whether getting a steal or a surprise.

Likely, the Leafs won't go too crazy off the board at 23. There's a lot of good options on the board there that are worthy and of the projected range.

If I had to pretend to be a fly in the Toronto Maple Leafs scouting room trying to guess what the team will do, i'd have a tough time deciding on a definitive answer. Almsot every answer here has a stem of logic to it and a reason that justifies their selection.

I think the Leafs would really be fascinated by someone like Dominik Badinka. This is just speculation on my part but he's a big versatile defenseman, he's mature, has good awareness, and has a lot of NHL tools.

He doesn't feel like the most upside pick but the Leafs could use some stability in their blueline, and I think his ability to play both positions is a plus. He seems a little more of someone Brad Treliving would want rather than the scouts taking. If he's there, I wouldn't be shocked if there's debate on EJ Emery. The offense isn't there yet, but he looks like someone you can see sticking in the league for a while to modest results.

If they do go with another forward, I think they'd be hoping someone creative like Basha or Luchanko falls. With rumors of Mitch Marner's potential exit, there's value in adding some high-caliber playmakers into the depth chart to take over in the next few years.

Based on their fondness of Domi and Bertuzzi, two guys who like to be menacing, I can see there being value in Yegor Surin, especially given Toronto's apparently emphasis on being able to play both center and wing. He has a lot of work to do in terms of growing his game, I can see a scrappy second line forward. It's a bit rich, but I don't hate the potential of what Surin can bring.

Likely the highest upside options are Chernyshov, Connelly & Greentree, and I don't think you can go wrong with any of the three. In my opinion, Connelly is the most skilled, and the most uncertain, while Chernyshov has the higheest floor. Greentree could have the highest upside if his skating improves. Toronto does like skating a bit so I could see Connelly and Chernyshov get favor. I don't know if either are there, if any of them are, it feels like a strong bet to take.

My consensus is that there really isn't a consensus. It's hard to see a pick that would be disappointing without going way off the board. Even Cowan was someone who grew on me late in the OHL season, so I wasn't totally displeased with the move.

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Who knows if they even have the pick by draft day. If they do, all indications are that there are multiple potential NHL players possibly available with the 23rd selection, and a chance to add yet another talented option to the Leafs lineup. There's a lot of easy excitement.