I’m incredibly amused that the two 4th round picks the Leafs own going into this draft — which as of now would only be six spots apart — are somehow not ranked one after the other. Hopefully Jesper Lindgren is as adept at breaking up carry ins!
Katya’s piece on Vegas’ 4th round pick covers some of the reasons why we included and ranked draft picks rather than just players where we already know who they are. I want to go along those same lines with this piece.
As Katya pointed out, it’s not really surprising that a 4th round pick didn’t wind up being ranked very well. The unknown factor hurts it, and if it were not for the fact that the bottom of the rankings wound up being... well, bad, I’m not sure it would have been ranked at all.
That’s not to say that 4th round picks don’t make it into the Top 25, because they do. Just not right after being drafted. Katya’s perfect example was Mikhail Abramov, a 4th round pick just last year that didn’t get ranked, but had an incredible season and will be ranked pretty high this year.
Votes - 2020 Toronto 4th-round pick
|Player||2020 Toronto 4th-round pick|
|Spread in Rank||8|
The Player, or rather the Players
Here’s a list for you:
- Alexander Kerfoot
- Andreas Johnsson
- Trevor Moore
- Ilya Mikheyev
- Mac Hollowell
- Ian Scott
- Pierre Engvall
- Adam Brooks
- Mason Marchment
- Joseph Duszak
- Jordan Subban
- Dmytro Timashov
- Calle Rosen
- Andreas Borgman
- Connor Carrick
- Connor Brown
- Nikita Soshnikov/
These are all current or former players in the Leafs organization who were ranked in the Top 25 since 2017. All of them were also drafted in the 4th round or later, or went completely undrafted. Six of them have been ranked in the top 10 in that time. Two more of them will be ranked in the top 10 this year.
But this probably isn’t telling you anything you don’t already know. Some 4th rounders can turn out to be pretty great! But it really depends on the specific player, and as an unknown person for now we can’t talk about any specifics. For every Kerfoot or Johnsson that turns into a solid NHLer, it’s just as easy that a 4th round (or later) pick turns into a Keaton Middleton or Joel Champagne. They could also meet somewhere in the middle, around an Adam Brooks or Mason Marchment that are just good enough to make the NHL but the jury’s out if they’re good enough to stick in anything but an occasional 4th line role.
So why did seven of PPP’s voters rank it at all? Why did Hardev and I rank it as high as 17th overall?
For me, it’s a combination of trust in the Leafs’ ability to draft and develop well along with a recognition that just because a player is picked in the 4th round doesn’t mean they should be. Last year, Mikhail Abramov was worth a 2nd round pick to a lot of prospect people like Scott Wheeler. But he fell to the Leafs in the 4th round, and now he looks like a steal. Someone like Nicholas Abruzzese was passed over twice before the Leafs took him in the 4th round just after Abramov.
Some players take longer to develop. Some players get overlooked because of their size, the league they played in, injuries leading up to the draft, and so on. Andreas Johnsson was barely picked in the 7th round, and only after the draft did he find out he had been living with asthma that was never diagnosed. Once he received the proper medication for it, he suddenly became a lot better. Who knew!
This is what I’m trusting in when I ranked both 4th round picks (and the 5th round pick, which I was the only one to do even though there really isn’t any difference between 4th and 5th rounders). Dubas and company will find hidden gems that fall to the 4th round.
I think it would be easier if I name some names, to give you an idea of the possibilities. Colin Cudmore (@CudmoreColin) put together a great resource — the 2020 NHL Draft Expected Range spreadsheet. It is an aggregate ranking of all 2020 eligible draft picks who receive a ranking from more than 30 draft people.
As of now, the Leafs would be picking 112th with this 4th round pick. Here are the top 10 ranked prospects by average expected range, who some have ranked at 112th or later:
- Jan Bednar
- Yegor Sokolov
- Cole Cormier
- Pavel Tyutnev
- Cross Hanas
- Jack Finley
- Colby Ambrosio
- Carson Bantle
- Linus Oberg
- Hugo Styf
(We are legally obligated from abusing this meme for all draft-pick related T25U25 articles)
So, what do you think? Have Katya and I convinced you to rank these 4th round picks higher?
Which prospect would you rank highest on this year’s T25U25 if the Leafs pick him with their 4th round pick?