It's NHL draft season! As is tradition for me, I've spent the past month or so – since the second round of the playoffs, actually – starting my writing on the 2023 NHL draft profiles for prospects that interest me. More specifically, I am writing about prospects that I think have a chance of being available in the range of the Maple Leafs' picks. This year, that's 28th overall in the first round, and then later in the 5th and 6th rounds.
Today is the day that I start actually start publishing these profiles. I start working on it ahead of time so I can actually have them all done in time for the draft. In fact, as of today I still will not have finished them all. I still have seven or eight to finish between now and the end of June. I typically post one profile per weekday, and time them so the last post goes up the morning of the first day of the draft. This year I couldn't make up my mind on the final cuts, so I'm writing a few extra that will be posted on the weekends.
The first profile will be up later this morning. This week will consist of all prospects I'd be interested in for Toronto to take straight up, without trading down, and with no hesitation. They're the first rounders I like the most. The second week, starting on Monday June 12th, will consist of prospects I'm more interested in if Toronto trades down from 28th overall and gets some picks in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Even with Dubas gone, Treliving is also a guy who has traded down a few times in his time as GM. The third week will be all the prospects I like the most as hidden gems who could be available in the 5th and 6th rounds. And finally, in the partial week leading up to the draft itself, will be some miscellaneous mini-profiles that list goalies and overagers I like.
One final note I want to add – this year's draft sounds like it will be even more chaotic than last year and I am here for it. There is little consensus in various rankings, and from what I've seen reported between NHL teams there's a lot of different boards. On the one hand, that will be a lot of fun to watch on draft day. On the other... it makes it annoying for me to whittle down my final list of prospects to write who I think may be available when Toronto picks at 28. Because there are legitimately some prospects who some teams reportedly have in their top 10 that others might barely have in the second round.
It doesn't help that I had to pick my list and who to write about before various outlets' final rankings come out. Bob McKenzie's final rankings, in particular, is valuable to get the best idea of how the draft – especially the first round – will shape out. But it won't come out until a week or so before the draft itself, and I have to make my decisions on who to write about well before that. So if I write some profiles and then his rankings come out, don't be surprised if some of them suddenly seem not to be in Toronto's range.
But the thing is, you can't draft 40 players in the top 10. Some of them are going to have to fall to Toronto, we just don't know who yet. So I'm taking advantage of the chaos to write about the guys that I really do like and think probably should be worth a higher pick than Toronto's, but may still fall in our lap.
ONTO THE LINKS
The NHL Stanley Cup Finals kicked off over the weekend, with Vegas taking game one 5-2. It featured one of the more memorable saves you'll ever see in a Cup Finals:
ADIN. HILL. SPEECHLESS. 😱 pic.twitter.com/z2CsXQcgYu— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) June 4, 2023
It also meant we got a state of the union address from Bettman's press conference, so there are some nuggets of information to sift through.
Let's start with what concerns Toronto, and something I had completely forgotten about:
Here's Sportsnet with a rundown of some of the other topics covered in Bettman's presser:
Of course, the other news related to the Maple Leafs was getting most of the talking volume...
Speculation around the Memorial Cup is Mike Babcock will return to the NHL as @BlueJacketsNHL new coach and the delay in announcing coincides with his existing contract with the Maple Leafs expiring the end of this month. https://t.co/OUlxBRS8bq— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 3, 2023
Poor Johnny Gaudreau, Kent Johnson, Patrik Laine and Denton Mateychuk...
Now let's talk trade rumours.
Friedman says the Winnipeg Jets understand they will have to listen on Hellebuyck, Scheifele and Dubois, all entering the last year of their deals, but they have made it clear there will not be a rebuild, they want players that can help now.— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) June 4, 2023
Marner for Hellebuyck, who says no? Lots of people. Lots of people say no.
Have a great Monday!