Prospect season got going in earnest last night with the CHL top prospects game, but now we have a list of prospects to look over, and it just got better. The NHL Central Scouting lists were released this week, but they are, of course, separated out into four lists of North American and European skaters and goalies. The fun of McKenzie’s list is that it’s consolidated, not just with all players ranked together, but in the source of the prospect opinions that go into it are drawn from a variety of scouts.

The unsurprising part of the list is the top:

Each of the 10 NHL scouts surveyed by TSN this week had Hughes at No. 1 on their list. Ten for 10.

But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been some closing of what started this season as a considerable gap between Hughes and the rest of the 2019 draft class.

“We still have Hughes at No. 1,” one NHL scout said, “but he’s No. 1 within a group of five or six. At the start of the season, Hughes was in a group by himself. He has company now.”

You’ll have to go read his post for the rest of the dull and boring top half of the first round.

For Leafs fans, we might first be wondering if the ultimate choice of player drafted with the first-round pick even matters to us. There is always a chance it will be traded. Last year a lot of Leafs fans were ready for that to happen, but now, would they want to give up Rasmus Sandin in a trade?

It seems like Kyle Dubas doesn’t want that, according to today’s 31 Thoughts:

12. If Dubas chooses a left-handed option, the top target is Jake Muzzin. But he has made it clear to those who have asked that Kasperi Kapanen is a no-go and 2018 first-rounder Rasmus Sandin has similar status.

If Dubas can’t part with last year’s first-round pick now that he’s a real boy playing really well in the AHL, should he pass up the chance to have a full slate of draft picks this year? That isn’t always an easy question to answer, and it depends on the deal.

The Leafs have eight picks for this summer, including their own first, second and third. McKenzie’s list includes 80 players and a host of honourable mentions, so there’s lots of prospect watching to be done at any of the levels the Leafs might ultimately draft at.

Last year the Leafs turned their 25th overall into the 29th and the 76th, so that option remains open again as well.

Beginning just before that 25th spot on McKenzie’s list, we have the following players to get to know:

TSN’s Consolidated NHL Draft Rankings from Bob McKenzie

21Moritz SeiderMannheim (DEL)D6'3 ½1832514
22Thomas HarleyMississauga (OHL)D6'318845838
23Alex VlasicUSA NTDP (USHL)D6'5 ¾19333314
24Ville HeinolaLukko (SM Liiga)D5'11 ¼1782316
25Brett LeasonPrince Albert (WHL)C6'3 ¾200393173
26Connor McMichaelLondon (OHL)C5'10 ¾172432751
27Nolan FooteKelowna (WHL)LW6'3 ¼190432242
28Samuel PoulinSherbrooke (QMJHL)RW6'1 ¼206451947
29Nils HoglanderRögle (SHL)LW5'91853258
30Ryan JohnsonSioux Falls (USHL)D6'017328414
31Jakob PelletierMoncton (QMJHL)LW5'9161442560
32Anttoni HonkaJYP (SM Liiga)D5'11 ¼1791614
33Bobby BrinkSioux City (USHL)RW5'8 ¼159191533
34Phillip TomasinoNiagara (OHL)C5'11 ¾178442247
35Lassi ThomsonKelowna (WHL)D6'0188441029
36Hunter JonesPeterborough (OHL)G6'4196393.180.91
37Kaedan KorczakKelowna (WHL)D6'2 ¾19245319
38Nicholas RobertsonPeterborough (OHL)LW5'8 ¾162311733
39Vladislav KolyachonokFlint (OHL)D6'0 ¼17634323
40Ilya NikolaevYaroslavl (MHL)C6'019033818
41John BeecherUSA NTDP (USHL)C6'2 ¾20434520
42Egor AfanasyevMuskegon (USHL)LW6'3 ½201331840

Moritz Seider is a very interesting name to see at the beginning of this group, as there aren’t very many players who have been drafted out of Germany, and he’s getting a lot of good buzz.

Brett Leason looks almost made for the Leafs. He’s an overager, and he plays with Ian Scott on the Prince Albert Raiders. He looked good at the WJC too.

Nolan Foote, son of Adam, is the traditional choice of big player, but he’s not a defender like his brother, the 14th overall two years ago.

Bobby Brink would be ideal for headline writers, but I’m not sure if that’s the best reason to pick a player.

What we might be hoping for is a centre, and after Leason and Knights player Connor McMichael, there’s Phillip Tomasino playing for the IceDogs and Ilya Nikolaev who plays in the MHL. There’s really good research to show MHL players are underrated by most scouts, so I’m immediately intrigued by him. His team is the one recently visited by Kyle Dubas as well.

Updated with some insider input: Kyle Dubas is watching hockey in Russia

Also in this range is Nils Hoglander, who we know the Leafs scouts have already had a look at.

Have the Leafs scouts found a Swedish SDA?

Okay, what do you think? Who do you like here? And do you like any of them enough to say don’t trade that pick?

Do you want to use that first-round pick or trade it?

Trade it, the Leafs need new blood now. 310
Get another Sandin with it.373
Trade it down for more picks.130