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Oilers Drafting 1st Might Affect Leafs at 4th

Left to Right: Top prospects McDavid, Eichel, Hanifin, Strome

It's old news now that the Oilers now hold the 1st overall pick, but what is starting to emerge is the changes that will occur below them in the draft. Toronto might get effected at 4th overall because of Arizona's new position in the draft at 3rd overall, and the player they will possibly take. 

In my opinion, the Oilers drafting 3rd overall would have been a perfect fit for the Leafs. The order would have gone as follows: 1) McDavid (Buffalo)   2) Eichel (Arizona)   and 3) Hanifin (Edmonton). Because the oilers so badly need defensive prospects, they would have had no choice but to take Noah Hanifin at 3rd overall, leaving the future franchise centreman's Dylan Strome and Mitch Marner up for grabs by the Leafs at 4th overall.

Because Edmonton now sits at the 1st overall position, everything might change for the Leafs. The top two picks of McDavid to Edmonton and Eichel to Buffalo still remain in place, but it is Arizona at 3rd overall that might mess up Toronto's draft plans. The Coyotes already have a franchise defenceman in Oliver Ekman-Larrsson, and might have no need for another one in Noah Hanifin. Strome might be too enticing to Arizona because of the possible first line they could have of Anthony Duclair, Strome, and Max Domi. That means they will most likely draft Dylan Strome at 3rd overall, dropping Hanifin to the Leafs. 

Now hey that's a good problem having a great defenceman fall to you on the draft board, but that's not what Toronto needs. The top defensive pairing of the Leafs future is already set with Morgan Reilly and Jake Gardiner, and what they need is a franchise centreman. Toronto has shown that in order to successfully build a contender, you need to do so around a centreman and not around defence or wingers (which is what they currently have done with building around Phaneuf and Kessel).

Because Arizona might take Strome, the Leafs might not have that big #1 centre to build around anymore. They could still take Mitch Marner, but that likely won't happen with Hanifin still available. This could push the Leafs back because in today's NHL a true #1 centre is needed in order to become a contender. My opinion is to skip Hanifin and take Marner in this case because of Toronto's need for a top centre and the fact they already have Reilly and Gardiner for the future. 

But then again, this is the Leafs, the team that drafted Nylander over Ritchie in last years draft, so drafting isn't exactly their specialty. Hopefully in the case that Strome is taken by Arizona at 3rd overall, the Leafs recognize their need for a #1 centre and draft Marner over Hanifin.

Just my opinion though, Shanahan will figure it out. Thanks for reading. 



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