Quite possible the most popular team in the NHL, there is no other team with the immense pressure and spotlight as the Toronto Maple Leafs. If there wasn’t enough pressure before, adding the most sought after free agent before the Stanley Cup is even awarded has made Toronto the center of the hockey world’s attention once again.
The Leafs are looking forward to the upcoming draft. They have both the 4th and 24th pick in the first round after acquiring the 24th pick from Nashville. The 4th pick is widely believed to be used to select either Dylan Strome, Mitchell Marner, or Noah Hanifin. Of course, if for some reason Jack Eichel or Connor McDavid is still available, that pick will be used to select who’s left. There’s 3 legitimate options for the 4th pick and 2 highly unlikely options. They’ve also been written to death about, so let’s change it up! What about the 24th pick? There’s not a lot of stuff written on it in comparison. But here’s our suggestions for the 24th pick!
A name that has been mentioned quite a bit is Oliver Kylington. He’s a 6’0 defenseman who played in the Swedish Hockey League when he was 16. From what i’ve read and seen, he’s a very strong skater and plays a good offensive game. His shot is a plus, but it’s his skating that is a plus plus tool. For the Leafs fan out there compare him to Morgan Rielly but not that high of a ceiling. Still a very serviceable player. I can’t imagine the Leafs picking Kylington if they pick Noah Hanifin with the 4th pick. He’s been dropping in the rankings as he’s had a poor Five Nations tournament and it seems like scouts feel that he’ll need to bulk up quite a bit. He seems like one of the biggest wildcards in the draft. The Leafs have two picks in the 1st round which allows them to be a bit more aggressive in the draft. His NHL ceiling is a powerplay quarterback who could be a 3D in the NHL.
Fun fact: He’s both Swedish and Eritrean!
Personally, I’d like to see the Leafs draft Paul Bittner if he’s still available at 24. He’s a big power forward who likes to use his size shovel goals in. His only issue is that he is still very raw and will need to work on his defensive game, but his offensive game is very good already. One of the biggest strengths he has is his size. He isn’t a goon on the ice, but he uses his size very well. When he needs to get infront of the net, he uses the entire six feet four inches he has to push people around. He will have to work on his defensive game to succeed at the next level. The NHL comparison for him is James Van Riemsdyk. If the Leafs got a player who is as good as JVR at 24, wouldn’t most Leafs fans be happy?
Our black horse unlikely pick is Ilya Samsonov. I’m suggesting this pick mostly because of preparation of the future and the lack of depth in the system. Goalies tend to take longer to develop in comparison to skaters. Yeah yeah, I know Bernier and Reimer are 26 and 27 respectively so they have a few years before it’s a necessity, but Samsonov is an intriguing prospect. He’s a high reward goalie with relatively low risk. He’s going to be developing in the KHL as he’s signed a 3 year contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Being able to develop in the second best league in the world (Sorry AHL and SHL, it’s not even close) would do wonders for a guy like him. With the 24th pick, the Leafs have a much higher risk tolerance as the 4th pick will be a guy who will be a star in the league in a few years. I’d love to see Samsonov in a Leafs jersey some day but I’m not sure if he’ll be there at 24.
We considered players such as Jansen Harkins and Jeremy Roy but the Leafs already have players similar to them in organization with Harkins being a comparison to Frederik Gauthier and Roy comparing to Matt Finn.
Do you have any other teams or picks you’d like us to write about?Let us know by commenting below, commenting on the post or tweeting me @hkyblogger! We know that everyone has different ideas on the 24th pick so let us know! If you like our stuff, show us support by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog !
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