Last year, Bob McKenzie’s final draft rankings had Timothy Liljegren at 16th, and we know where he ended up. (Any old top draft pick can win the Calder Trophy his first year, it’s a much more difficult feat to win the Calder Cup.)
This year, the famous list is out for your perusal, and he has a few interesting names in the Leafs’ range.
23. Ty Dellendrea - C - OHL
24. K’Andre Miller - D - USHL
25. Bode Wilde - D - USHL
26. Jared McIsaac - D - QMJHL
27. Rasmus Sandin - D - OHL
That’s a lot of defenders in that range. They come right after a string of centres, of whom Dellendrea is the lowest-ranked.
After Sandin comes a mixed bag of forwards and defenders including the controversial Ryan Merkley.
Interestingly, Kevin’s list today has Bode Wilde at 26:
Wilde is 6’2”, moves well, and shoots right, so Leafs fans are probably already sold. He’s a strong puck carrier for a player of his size, and is not afraid to jump up into the play to become a scoring threat. He’s not as talented of a passer as the majority of defenders in the first round, so he may end up as a capable powerplay quarterback rather than an elite one. He’s falling down draft boards after failing to find the scoresheet in the U-18 tournament, but the tools are still there for him to go in the back-end or middle of the first round.
Wilde did not make the roster for USA Hockey’s World Junior Summer Showcase, which is this July/August. K’Andre Miller did.
2018 draft eligible U.S. defenceman Bode Wilde is not going to the University of Michigan next season. He will get drafted and see what his non-school options are. Saginaw owns his OHL rights.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 18, 2018
The mysterious and hard to rank Jacob Bernard-Docker comes it at 46, likely more plausible than 25th where ISS has him, but could he be around at 52nd where the Leafs pick second?
In between the end of the first round and the mid-second round is where you find the once formerly first rounders who fell. Sometimes they fell for bad reasons, sometimes not. But there’s some names in the 40’s like Jett Woo and Calen Addison, who people might still think of as first-round prospects.
On the most recent Bobcast, McKenzie explained a little about spot 31 or 32. Those players are almost first-rounders or are players his experts think might go in the first round, but maybe they don’t really rate that highly themselves. With 31 a nominal first-round spot, it looks like there’s a few that spilled over below that for this reason.
At 31, 32 and 33 are two sons of famous hockey fathers and Ryan Merkely.
At spot 52, is a very interesting name: Jake Wise.
One player Kevin rated highly is Filip Hallander, but McKenzie has him at 59th. If Kevin is right, and McKenzie’s pool of experts are wrong, he might be a steal with the second-round pick as well.
McKenzie’s list is, remember, an true consensus list of all the experts he polls for opinions. It’s not a mock draft or a single opinion, but it very accurately reflects the majority opinion. The majority isn’t always right, and in drafting, particularly in the areas the Leafs are picking, there are almost certainly going to be unexpected players becoming available who turn out to be better than the majority expected.
Carl Grundstrom and Travis Dermott (57th and 34th overall, respectively) just hoisted the Cup along with Liljegren.
Jakub Skarek is at 56th, and is the second-highest ranked goalie. He might be an option for the Leafs too:
At spot 83 is Alexander Romanov, and who doesn’t want a little royalty on the team? Until proven otherwise, I’m assuming he’s a prince and the Leafs are taking him.
The list runs out at 93, but if you, like me, are enamoured with the idea of trading down for more picks, it’s easy to see some incentives here. As always, the trouble is in finding the partner who wants to move up.
Have a look at the complete list, and Kevin’s if you haven’t, and what do you think now? Has any of this changed your minds?