Leafs Future in the Hands of Coyotes


The Toronto Maple Leafs desperately need a roster overall, and their process may have begun today with the hiring of Mike Babcock as their head coach. They have the fourth overall pick in the upcoming NHL draft, where they will have the opportunity to bring in a young new player.

The only problem is, whoever they want to draft is really out of their hands.

Even though they finished with the second worst record, the Arizona Coyotes fell to the third pick when the Edmonton Oilers, the third worst team, won the draft lottery and got to take the first overall pick. The Maple Leafs stayed at the fourth pick, right where they belonged, but with no lottery luck they also do not get a chance to truly decide their fate.

The two prospects on the radar for Arizona are Noah Hanifan and Dylan Strome. The battle for the top guy is almost a lesser competition with the first and second pick. The Buffalo Sabres will simply select who Edmonton does not. Likely, the Sabres will get Boston University’s Jack Eichel when the Oilers take the Erie Otters’ Connor McDavid.

The Leafs are in the same situation as Buffalo, waiting on who the Coyotes will select.

The Coyotes are not revealing who they want to select.

“I don’t think it’s locked in stone, that third position, which gives us flexibility because there are one or two of those that we like more than the other.” said Arizona general manager Don Maloney to the Glendale Star. “So, maybe if we get what we want, maybe we trade down a slot or two. So, we have to look at those options, but there’s some good players that can help us. Maybe not next year, but not that long thereafter.”

The Coyotes are in need for offense like crazy. They were the second worst offensive team in the league last season, and Dylan Strome, a center, could cure some of these woes. He played with McDavid in Erie, and the Coyotes have two other top offensive prospects arriving in the near future; Anthony Duclair and Max Domi.

If this happens, the Leafs will be forced to fill the need they have on defense. Hanifan, a defenseman out of Boston College, is the top ranked defensive player in the draft. While Strome would boost their offense for certain, they might be better off with securing their back end.

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