It is common knowledge that the Maple Leafs would love to move up. The question I have is "at what price?" With the Oilers and Panthers willing to listen to offers, the possibilities seem endless. Which leads to the next question: Should the Leafs dangle Dion to get it? I truly think there is a good chance for the Leafs move up, but I am making my first round pick based on the assumption that they do not get a deal done.
The Leafs are not in as bad as shape as their record shows. Their number one need is finding that elusive top number one Centre. They need to find a highly-skilled passing Centre, one that can feed the puck to some guy named Phil. Their second need is finding a gritty forward who can help with fixing the silly mistakes all over the zone. Too many times, forwards were pitching in at the wrong time, forgetting the defensive zone coverage. Which begs the question: Can they really afford to let Bolland go? If they decide to let him go, there will be a huge need to fill. They will have to address this in the off-season. That is the main reason I feel the need to pick up a two-way forward in the draft.
With that, who do I pick in the draft?
FIRST ROUND PICK
I had a hard time deciding between two young Centres for the first pick: William Nylander or Robbie Fabbri. Both are highly-skilled playmakers. One has better offensive skills, the other is better defensively.
Nylander could stick-handle his way in a phone booth. He is terrific passer who can thread the needle from anywhere on the ice. He is fine skater with very good passing skills. Most importantly, he is always thinking two or three plays ahead.
Fabbri is a highly skilled centre with the smarts to go with it. He has the potential of being a true leader who has tons of heart. He will not back down from anyone. He has the guts of a champion. Fabbri has wheels to burn and can skate with the best of them in this draft. He is highly skilled offensively and knows how to defend.
My pick: ROBBY FABBRI
The Leafs have no second round pick, so on with the third round.
THIRD ROUND PICK
Donato is not overly skilled, but has the potential of being power forward. Adequate skating will improve with experience. He has the heart of a lion and will fight for his teammates. He will do everything that is asked of him. A good two-way player.