After yet another disappointing season, Maple Leafs fans look toward another offseason. This time, as the fans of the only NHL franchise to have not played in a postseason game since the lockout. The overwhelming belief that the Toronto Maple Leafs still need a number one center still remains, and the uncertainty about goaltending is present as well. There are some positives though. The most present being the fact that the Maple Leafs hold the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft.
The last time the Maple Leafs selected a forward with a top five pick in the draft, was in 1989. The Toronto Maple Leafs took Scott Thornton with the third overall pick. Before that, it was Wendel Clark, first overall in 1985.
Of course, The Maple Leafs do not have to take a forward. They could very well select a defenseman with the 5th overall pick, assuming they don’t trade it. The last time they took a defenseman, they selected Luke Schenn, at number five. The young defender has had his fair share of ups and downs throughout his young career, and will be looking to bounce back in his 2012-2013 campaign, whether it is with the Leafs, or another club.
Outside of who many believe is the consensus number one pick this year, in Nail Yakupov, the draft seems to be quite open. Many scouts have different top 10s, which is expected. There are plenty of talented players available, but the real questions surround team need. You can certainly make the case that the Edmonton Oilers could, and should trade the first overall pick. In which case, many Leafs fans would be salivating at the opportunity to draft Yakupov. However, a first overall pick hasn’t been traded since 2003, and while the Oilers will likely be more open to listening to potential offers on their pick, it just doesn’t seem likely they’d move it.
Brian Burke has made his fair share of draft day trades. Whether it be making a trade to select the both Henrik and Daniel Sedin in 1999 while with the Vancouver Canucks, or most recently moving up to grab Tyler Biggs with the 22nd overall pick, in last year’s NHL Entry Draft. Burke has already come out and talked about how he expects the team’s biggest moves in the offseason to come via trade, and likely not free agency.
Going into his final year of his contract as President and General Manager of The Toronto Maple Leafs, one would think Brian Burke will be feeling the pressure to get things done this upcoming year. With so many question marks surrounding the team, you have to think something is going to get done. The time for waiting until the right deal comes along is over. The pressure is immense, and everyone, including Brian Burke, know it.
About the Author: My name is Mitch Gleaves. I'm a 16 year old highschool student working hard to make it in sports journalism. My dream is to one day have a career in writing. I love the Toronto Maple Leafs, and hockey in general.