Dangling with Familiarity

Be-Leaf no more. Signs are pointing to “Stamkos will not sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1, 2016.” Why? Stamkos has mentioned that he envisions winning a Stanley Cup in Tampa, and as the captain of the Lightning, he is the leader of the group. Lately, Stamkos has returned to his playing style, leading the charge with five points in five games and the Lightning tentatively holding onto the first wild card spot.

Whether or not Stamkos signs with the Leafs on July 1, 2016, Toronto will stick with the plan of rebuilding. Queue in Steve Dangle, who has mentioned that the Leafs could make draft history with ALL the draft picks in 2016.

In addition to Dangle’s comments in his video on Sportsnet, the Toronto Maple Leafs likely won’t tank to last in the league, but instead look to draft a few players in the first round. OR, with the numerous draft picks in the 2016 draft, the Leafs could make a move to have two draft picks in the top ten.

The Leafs COULD therefore take two of the following four players: Alex Nylander, Patrik Laine, Jesse Puljujarvi, and Matthew Tkachuk in the 2016 NHL Draft. Ranked by Damien Cox of Rogers Sportsnet, Laine is ranked second, Puljujarvi third, Tkachuk fourth, and Alex Nylander fifth.

With Joffrey Lupul, Tyler Bozak, and Dion Phaneuf looking like they are on their way out of town by the February 29 trade deadline, the Toronto Maple Leafs might finish as a bottom three team by the end of the 2015-16 regular season. Which prospects and draft picks could the Leafs acquire for the aforementioned players? Would a right-handed defenceman such as Ryan Pulock fit the bill?

A POSSIBILITY: The following is a potential scenario.

If Toronto finishes 27in the NHL, the Leafs could copy Kyle Dubas’ tactic of trading down in the 2016 draft for more draft picks, as seen when Dubas traded the 24th overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft for two draft picks. The Leafs could trade their third overall pick for the fourth overall selection and a second/third round pick or prospect. Further, the Leafs could look to trading the Pittsburgh first round pick (providing the Penguins clinch a playoff spot) and another player or pick for the fifth overall selection. With the fourth and fifth overall draft picks, the Leafs can have back-to-back draft selections in the first round.

Matthew Tkachuk, son of an arguable hall of famer Keith Tkachuk has posted a remarkable 61 points in 30 games for the London Knights playing alongside 2015 Leafs’ fifth overall selection Mitch Marner. At 18, Marner has also scored 61 points, but in four fewer games. At 6’0, Tkachuk would be a great addition as a skilled winger who has excelled alongside Mitch Marner.

Alex Nylander, son of Michael Nylander and brother of Leafs’ 2014 eighth overall draft prospect William Nylander, has expressed his aspiration of playing alongside his brother as a professional hockey player. At 19, William has not played since December 26, 2015 due to a concussion suffered in the World Junior opening game against Switzerland.  William has noted that his younger brother Alex is a better hockey player than himself. A huge compliment, Alex is another great OHL prospect who has scored 50 points in 34 games played. It’s one thing to have the magic of Swedish twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin, but to have a Swedish triplet line of Dmitryo TimashovWilliam NylanderAlex Nylander would be a better thrill to watch than Tampa Bay’s Ondrej Palat-Tyler Johnson-Nikita Kucherov.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will not likely draft BOTH Alexander Nylander and Matthew Tkachuk. The above proposal is an interesting avenue that the Leafs can explore which invites excellent offensive talent going into the future. Even if the Leafs were to solely draft Alex Nylander, imagine the lineup possibilities. What should the Leafs do as they near the 2016 trade deadline?

Timashov – W. Nylander – A. Nylander

JVR – Kadri – Kapanen

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