What’s happening at the NHL Draft?
By Bob McKenzieThe draft is underway.
The draft has been in limbo for weeks, and there are some interesting developments to report.
The Toronto Maple Leafs will draft Auston Matthews, and if they do, the first round may be the most interesting of the first two rounds.
Matthews will be the first overall pick, and the Leafs have a history of drafting players with high upside.
The Maple Leafs’ first pick since drafting Auston in 2012 is currently Jack Eichel, the youngest of four draft picks that was selected in the first three rounds.
The Leafs will pick No. 7 overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, but it’s unclear how high they’ll be able to get Matthews.
The third pick is also a possibility.
Auston will likely go to the Boston Bruins.
The Bruins’ second pick in the draft, in 2019, was Connor McDavid, and they have two picks in the second round of the draft: Connor McElhinney in 2019 and Nolan Patrick in 2020.
McElhinneys and Patrick are both very high-end prospects, and McElhneys is an NHL-ready center who plays the same position as Matthews.
Patrick is a winger who plays in a similar role to Matthews.
Both McElhlins have upside, but they will have to overcome their injuries in order to make it to the NHL.
As we’ve seen time and time again, the Maple Leafs have to find players who can take them to the next level.
The team is already a little late to the game on that front.
The Leafs selected the best player available in Auston, which was good news for them and Matthews, but not so good news in general.
He’s not an elite player at this point, but he could become one if he plays at the next levels.
If Matthews falls, he could go back to his junior team and get a few more years of seasoning before being ready for the NHL level.
The biggest issue with the Leafs’ drafting of Auston is that he was drafted as a 19-year-old.
This could have been an issue in his draft year, but now that he’s 23, it’s a concern.
In order for him to be able go to Toronto, the Leafs will need to trade him.
This would not only allow them to save money, but also allow them some flexibility on the free-agent market in 2019.
The Maple Leafs could also use the pick to acquire a defenseman, as the Leafs are currently in the midst of a rebuild.
With Connor McDaniel and Nolan Ryan both out of the lineup, and Connor McBride in the mix as a prospect, the organization will be looking to bring in another defenseman, and Matthews fits that bill.
The two prospects who could be on the trade block in 2019 are Josh Jooris, a 19, and Nikita Scherbak, a 20.
If the Leafs go with Matthews, the most likely scenario is that they’ll draft a defenseman with the first pick, or pick the best prospect in the third round.
The Toronto Maple Leaf’s first pick in 2019 is likely Auston Connor McWilliam.