At the NHL trade deadline, teams tend to overpay. If the Toronto Maple Leafs were heading towards missing the playoffs again, I could see the following as potential returns for teams who were looking to add depth and insurance for a playoff run. Obviously, in the case of Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf, the first rounders would be lower first rounders, but, in a deep draft, that can still be a good thing.
Phil Kessel – first, second and higher end prospect.
So, if the Leafs were a lottery team again, including their own picks for 2013 they could end up with…
Three first round picks.
Three second round picks.
Four third round picks.
One fourth round pick.
One fifth round pick.
One sixth round pick.
One seventh round pick.
The defensive core moving forward would then become based around Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly as the defensive cornerstones with Matthew Finn and Stuart Percy as the complimentary defencemen.
The offensive core moving forward would be based around Mikhail Grabovski, Tyler Bozak, (resigned) and Jay McClement as second, third and fourth line centres respectively. James Van Riemsdyk, Matt Frattin, Nikolai Kulemin, Leo Komarov, Carter Ashton, etc would be the core for the wingers.
Obviously still missing is that franchise elite number one centre. Absolutely no guarantees that Nathan McKinnon would be heading to Toronto either. They would still have to address the goaltending issue and fill out the roster.
To me, this would be a proper rebuild. It would also probably involve losing for a couple more seasons to truly start seeing positive results. I’d be okay with that if it meant that the Leafs were finally committed to doing it right for once.
IF Corey Perry is moved at the deadline as a rental and decides to test the FA market in the summer, I think that the Leafs would have just as good a chance to sign him as anybody would. Ontario kid entering the prime of his career who has already won a Stanley Cup.
If the Leafs are destined to miss again this year, a fire sale in a deep draft year like the one ahead of us may not be a bad thing after all.