Friday, June 13

"...and free Boston Pizza for a year."

Draft Day Scenarios

With the 2008 NHL Draft less than a week away, it's time to put the GM hats on again. Trade up? Trade down? Stick to the rebuild, or give it one more run with Sundin? Here are four Draft Day scenarios for you to mull over. Some are more realistic than others, and some will have your wringing your hands. What would you do?

SCENARIO #1: Dean Lombardi emerged from talks with L.A. Kings ownership last week with a new direction - get even younger. So, he fired coach Marc Crawford and headed into the draft with 14 picks (including 8 in the first 3 rounds), looking to re-stock the organization with quality prospects. With some nice young players up front, L.A. is looking to add a couple blue chip defence prospects to go along with Jack Johnson. Having already selected Drew Doughty with the #2 overall pick, the Kings want the #7 pick to snag one of Alex Pietrangelo or Tyler Myers.

The Offer:

To Los Angeles: Toronto's #1 pick (#7 overall)

To Toronto: Alexander Frolov, Dallas' #1 pick (#28 overall), L.A.'s #2 pick (#32 overall) and Calgary's #2 pick (#47 overall)

Pro/Con: For moving down 21 spots, the Leafs get an affordable 30 goal scorer who is signed for 2 more years, and is just 26 years old. They also add a couple high picks in the 2nd round to help replenish the cupboard. It's a quantity over quality deal, as the Leafs would lose out on a possible first pairing defenceman. Worth the price? It depends on your projection for Tyler Myers. Is he the next Chara, or just a more skilled version of Hal Gill?

SCENARIO #2: The Edmonton Oilers are without a 2nd and 3rd round pick after the Dustin Penner offer sheet. With a bundle of NHL calibre forwards on the roster, the Oilers are looking to move bodies and add some picks. The phone rings at the Leafs draft table just before the start of the 2nd round.

The Offer:

To Edmonton: Pittsburgh's #2 pick (#59 overall) and Toronto's #3 pick (#67 overall).

To Toronto: Rob Schremp

Pro/Con: A YouTube legend, Schremp has always been a wild card. Drafted #25 overall in 2004, and led the OHL in scoring in 2005-06. He has as much skill as anybody, but needs work on his skating and strength. After two years honing his game in the AHL, and a dedicated off-season training program, he appears ready to make the jump. Trouble is, the Oilers are deep up front and have a lot of youth already. The Leafs would be giving up two picks in a strong draft year, but would they get someone with Schremp's potential at #59 or #67? He's a boom or bust proposition, but might be worth the mild risk for a rebuilding team.

SCENARIO #3: The Leafs have already selected Tyler Myers at #7 and amazingly, Nikita Filatov has slipped to #9. With Nashville on the clock, you sense a chance to hit a home run and grab the skilled Russian, who some say is the 2nd best player in the draft. With the cost-conscious Predators also owning the #15 pick, and some good youth already in the system, Nashville is willing to talk trade. But what's the price?

To Nashville: Toronto's #1 pick in 2009.

To Toronto: Florida's #1 pick (#9 overall).

Pro/Con: There's just one question. How good do you think the Leafs will be this year? The Leafs are getting a top 10 pick in a strong year, with the intention of selecting a dynamic, front-line winger. But, are you giving up the chance at selecting John Tavares, Victor Hedman, or Jared Cowen next year? If the Leafs aren't a lottery team, do you make that deal? With the expected bounce you get in the first year of a new coach, you have to think the Leafs will be picking outside the top 10 next year.

SCENARIO #4: The Atlanta Thrashers have one of the weakest prospect pools in the NHL and have made the decision to cut salary and start from scratch. With the #3 and #29 overall picks, they will get two good players, but they want to add some established NHL youth and even more prospect depth. After selecting Zach Bogosian with the #3 pick, they come calling for the #7 overall pick.

The Offer:

To Atlanta: Toronto's #1 pick (#7 overall), Toronto's #1 pick in 2009, Alex Steen, Jiri Tlusty, and Anton Stralman.

To Toronto: Ilya Kovalchuk

Pro/Con: The Leafs get the NHL's premier goal scorer (in his prime), but have to give up their best young players and high picks to do it. Is this really the way to rebuild? That said, Kovalchuk is only 25-years-old himself, and his goals would single-handedly keep the Leafs out of the Tavares sweepstakes. How often do you get a chance to get a 60-goal scorer in his prime? Could Kovalchuk handle the heat in Toronto? Probably, as long as he could walk around in his loin cloth all day.

Let's hear your thoughts, armchair GM's.