No one not an actual person has ever appeared on a PPP Top 25 Under 25 list before. While we’ve been tempted to make someone up to see if you’re paying attention, 2020 provided us with something even more unusual when the draft was delayed until some vague future date after the playoffs.
I decided to add three draft picks to the list this year, to recognize how out of sync this season is, and how weird this period of hiatus is, where it’s summer but not offseason, and where our prospect hopes and dreams have to be kept a little theoretical.
There is a chance, of course, that this draft pick, acquired when the Leafs traded Garret Sparks to Vegas to repatriate the David Clarkson contract (and we thought that was weird), will get traded away again and won’t ever become a real boy in blue and white. But for now, let’s pretend.
Most of the talk from the community around these draft picks on the list centred around the second-round pick, and how high it should be ranked. That’s a secret for now, but I’m not sure very many people expected this fourth-round pick to make the list.
Neither of the two players drafted in the fourth round last year, Mikhail Abramov and Nick Abruzzese, were ranked in last year’s list. None of the fourth-rounders in the three years prior to that were ranked in their first year either. Generally, we’ve waited for a year and then said yea or nay on prospects taken in later rounds. And that’s what I did this year.
Votes - 2020 Vegas 4th-round pick
|Player||2020 Vegas 4th-round pick|
|Spread in Rank||7|
As you can see, I didn’t rank this pick. Five of our voters did, with a wide spread in ranking, so there was certainly no groupthink on how to handle such a theoretical challenge. The average rank you see listed, is computed from our new tabulation system, so isn’t a simple average of the votes you see when there are fewer than 12 votes.
Who is the imaginary player who will be taken with this pick? There’s more than one way to look at that. You can take the average player drafted in the spot this pick represents, which is going to be between 113 and 124 (I think), and assume that’s who is being ranked. If you do, and Hockey Reference makes it easy — you come up with a player very unlikely to make the NHL, but maybe good enough to be on many a Top 25 List, particularly so near the bottom.
Taken in that range from 2000 to now, you get 26 players who have more than 100 NHL games played right now out of 227 draft choices. There’s a few more in there who might make it eventually, as well. You could get T.J. Brodie, or you could get Petter Granberg. But odds are not favouring the Brodie outcome. The average player, and the overwhelming majority of players taken with a pick in that range never play a single game in the NHL.
Do you want to know who leads the list for Leafs players picked in that range? I already told you, it’s Granberg, who had 45 NHL games played, most of them in Nashville after they claimed him on waivers. Granberg was ranked on three Top 25 lists, the highest at 12th.
The rest of the list is David Turon, Roman Kukumberg, Vladislav Kara (unranked this year), Mac Hollowell, Mikhail Abramov, Nicholas Abruzzese and Vladimir Bobylev (also unranked). Florida did draft this fellow named Zach Hyman at 123rd overall, though. But Keith Aulie and Byron Froese were also taken in that range too. For every bit of hope, there’s five ways it can get dashed.
Whoever this pick turns into, there’s a good chance he’ll be ranked in the 2021 list when we’ll actually have some idea of who he is and if his post-draft season shows that always important step up in results.
Okay, I’ll you post the mystery box memes, but first I want your honest opinion, what do you think this pick turns into?
What will the Leafs end up with on draft day?
|Two guys drafted in the fifth round after Dubas trades down.||107|
|A goalie we’ll believe in until just before his rights expire.||65|
|A defenceman who always sits in the front row of the team picture.||31|
|A forward Dubas thinks is smart.||111|
|It could even be a boat.||114|