One of the best (or worst) parts about the draft has to be the rumours and speculation about potential trades between teams vying to get their squads into a better position than when they started the day. The Leafs are always at the top of the draft rumours, and this year is no different. With a busy day for the Leafs already underway, here's a mid-day recap.
Leafs are still debating who they're picking at #4:
Mirtle reported that Mitch Marner (London Knights/OHL) has the slight edge with the Maple Leafs head office over Noah Hanifin (Boston College/Hockey East). He also reported that it's a very slight edge, and that both are very close with each other.
Leafs had Mitch Marner ranked third for quite some time. Questions are is he still there and does Hunter get the final say?— James Mirtle (@mirtle) June 26, 2015
It was assumed that the Arizona Coyotes were going to select Dylan Strome with the No. 3 pick but talks of the team trading the third overall pick has picked-up over the last few days. The Leafs had Marner ranked at #3 for quite some time, but now with talks of teams trying to move up to #3 to get Hanifin, it could mean that the Leafs get their man after all.
The battle between Hanifin, Marner, and Strome is a close one, all with fantastic talent. The question becomes who goes 3rd overall (Arizona), 4th overall (Toronto), and 5th overall (Carolina)
Leafs 24th pick also in play:
Paul Hendrick reported that the Leafs 24th overall pick may also be in play, in order to get into the second round.
Possibility of Leafs utilizing 24th pick to attain a 2nd round selection as part of a package that could come Leafs' way. #TMLtalk— Paul Hendrick (@HennyTweets) June 25, 2015
There are a few things the Leafs could do with the pick. They could trade the pick for a good young prospect/player, and a second, or pitch the pick to a team in the late first, and see if they want to move up in the draft. It's a little confusing, as the Leafs have said they want to draft as many players as possible, but there's also the possibility that this could be part of a larger deal that brings a good return to the Leafs.
Currently, SB Nation and PPP have Charlottetown forward Daniel Sprong going 24th overall. He's a fantastic young prospect, but the question becomes do the Leafs want to get him at No. 24, or move back to get into the second. It'll be interesting to see what Mark Hunter and Kyle Dubas do with the pick.
Kessel could be traded this weekend:
Brian Burke, the man who brought Kessel to Toronto, believes the all-star winger will move this draft weekend.
Kessel is a 30 goal-scorer in four of his past five seasons in Toronto, and is the Leafs best player. He came under scrutiny in Toronto last season, but is still an elite-level star in the NHL. You can bet the return to the Leafs would be astronomical if he does get traded.
Reports suggest that the Penguins have great interest in him.
PITT targeting Phil Kessel as one of 4 or 5 scoring forwards that interest them. Everybody wants young Penguin D.— Damien Cox (@DamoSpin) June 25, 2015
According to Pierre LeBrun, the Leafs have firm offers on Kessel, but don't feel it's necessary to trade Kessel this weekend. We'll have to wait to see what happens, but it appears that the Leafs have a busy weekend ahead of them.
Leafs have firm offers on the table for Phil Kessel, expect to get more on the draft floor this evening. (con't)— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 26, 2015
But Leafs don't feel it's a must to move him this weekend. Next week could be just as good a window. Will only do it if deal is right— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 26, 2015
Leafs close to extending Panik's contract:
The Leafs are expected to extend Richard Panik's contract sometime this weekend. The Leafs claimed Panik off of waivers from the Tampa Bay Lighting back in October. He produced 11 goals, and 17 points in 76 games last season. The 24 year-old winger is expected to ink an extension sometime this weekend, helping the Leafs bottom six forward unit.
The expectation is that Richard Panik's signature will be on a contract extension with the #leafs by the end of draft weekend.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 26, 2015
Do you think that Phil Kessel gets traded this weekend?
|Doesn't matter, I'm just gonna stay tuned to PPP for draft coverage||49|