The past few years, it’s almost felt like the NHL Draft was an afterthought for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Seven games against Boston, blah blah blah, and then the Draft, which has mostly been a chance to speculate on trades and find a way for the Leafs to stay under the Cap.

The Leafs have gotten three great prospects in Timothy Liljegren, Rasmus Sandin, and Nick Robertson the last three years, but without a high pick, it’s been hard to speculate and pinpoint which player Kyle Dubas will take.

That is still the case this season, with a myriad of options floating around for the Leafs to take with their second round pick (provisionally at 51st overall and assuming the first round pick has been given to Carolina,) and the cap crunch hanging in the balance. However, one thing we do know is that Dubas and his team has been able to pull great value from the draft thanks to a strong understanding of pick probability, talent prioritization, and scouting resources. A lot of scouting resources.

That’s where the Leafs have the upper hand. While other teams might be stuck with fewer eyes everywhere and a quarter of the season lost, it’s hard to believe the Leafs have a shortage of data and information on the players they want and that are available. When Liljegren was picked at 17th overall, Dubas emphasized that they had watched his age-17 season very closely and had all the information they needed to take the right-shot defenseman despite his having missed most of the 2016-17 season with mono.

I’m just putting it out there, with what I’ve heard about Sean Farrell, I think he’s going to be the first pick by the Leafs. A small, fast, determined winger from the USHL Chicago Steel, the same place where the Marlies got their new head coach (Greg Moore) and the GM (Ryan Hardy) is Dubas’ book pal on Twitter. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Farrell in video I can find, and I like what I hear from scouts and analysts online about him. Don’t make me look dumb, Kyle. Make Brigstew look dumb for not including him in his USHL prospects watch list that comes out later this week (spoiler).

He’s #21 here. Michael Koster is in the video as well.

Leafs Branches

  • I agree with the boys, trade Marner for Dougie Hamilton right now. No second thoughts. (Or listen to the podcast to hear what they actually said)./

Back to Excited Episode 104: Is it possible to trade Marner without being moronic

  • Before getting into the news that the NHL might push the 2020 Draft ahead of the playoffs, here’s Katya to explain what that would mean./

Update: NHL pushing teams to agree to a draft in early June

Other Hockey Branches

  • We should expect to hear a Draft date decision by this week, potentially as soon as today. That said, we didn’t get many leaks on Sunday night so it doesn’t appear as though the NHL has any definitive answers to tell anyone yet. Might be Tuesday, as JD Burke says./

NHL faces big week with talks on early draft, potential game ‘hubs’

  • Mike in Boston (different guy) spoke to Tim Graham about his reporting on the Pegulas and the current “toxic culture” that is permeating their Buffalo sports empire./

Longreads: Writing About Ownership
Are the Pegulas the new Harold Ballard?

  • Surprisingly, no Leafs on either side of this!/