The 4th Pick is in and it was pretty much a runaway. The Canes Country voters have selected Ryan Murray at #4 for the New York Islanders. The Isles get one of, if not the safest picks in the entire draft, they address a big need, and they get a highly regarded player. This seems like it would work out for them quite well. Murray is not really going to be a "star" type player (and by that I mean flashy), but he is expected to be a steady guy that will probably play in the league for the next 20 years. He is also one of the few players that could step into the league and play right away. The Isles get a very reliable player that they can build their defense around. I actually expect him to have a rookie season sort of on par with what Justin Faulk had for us this season. He will have his ups & downs, but he will get a lot of respect being able to play so well against more experienced competition. So Yakupov, Forsberg, Galchenyuk, and Murray are off the board, who is taken with the 5th pick?
Up next are the Toronto Maple Leafs with the #5 Pick, so Toronto is now on the clock!
I have to believe this is not exactly how Toronto wanted this draft to go so far. Toronto really has 7 NHL defensemen already & they are trying to land one more in free agency and they are in need of a center or goaltender. They would have probably preferred Alex Galchenyuk, Nail Yakupov, or Filip Forsberg. But know they are set to decide between a bunch of defensemen or a big center that has some question marks. Obviously there are still the possibilities of trading picks and/or players and Toronto is known for trying to make moves. Drafting a goaltender this high would be very difficult, so I believe they will address that through a trade or free agency. This draft pick just comes down to 3 things. Does Burke take the position of need, even though he might not desire that player? Or does he draft one of the many talented defensemen for the future? Or does he trade the pick for a proven NHL player or just down to pick up some additional assets? Well, you're the Maple Leaf's GM in this case, so what do you do with the #5 Pick?
*If you choose the "Trade the Pick" option, please let me know what player you expect to be drafted in the 5th slot.*
Mikhail Grigorenko - C
Grigorenko is probably the most talented player left on the board at this point and he is one of the things Toronto needs the most. But he just doesn't seem to be a Burke or Carlyle type of player. If Toronto does take him, I could see problems arise in the immediate future, especially in the "center of the hockey universe". But if Grigs can get his legs back under him and work hard to prepare himself for the NHL, then this could be a steal. He is ultra-talented, can score and dish, and potentially will be playing beside Phil Kessel, who can score a lot of goals himself. This is a risk/reward selection at #5 and one I just can't see Burke pulling the trigger on, but who knows for sure?
Mathew Dumba - D
Dumba is a more talented Chad LaRose, as a defenseman. He is a fireball that everyone will love. He can skate, contribute offensively, and knock teeth out. Some have said that he plays a Dion Phaneuf type of game, but doesn't have a Phaneuf type of body. Either way you look at him, he is a nice prospect to add to your system. He needs a little more work on positioning and when to hit & when not to hit, but he'll figure it out. I actually believe that Carlyle would love to select Dumba, but I'm not sure how much say he will have in the selection. And picking him doesn't really do anything for the Leafs right now and I'm pretty sure they are in immediate improvement mode.
Griffin Reinhart - D
Reinhart seems to be the type of player that Burke loves. He's big and tough, but he also has some skill. Add to that, that he can skate and you have a pretty complete player. Reinhart does need to work on his game some more, so while being close to physically ready, he is still a couple of seasons away. But this guy, who has compared himself to Shea Weber & Chris Pronger, could turn into one hell of a defenseman. If you give him some time and teach him how to use his body more effectively, the sky is really the limit for this kid.
Jacob Trouba - D
Trouba is another defenseman that can play a sound all-around game. He is probably more of a shutdown defender at this point, but he has some offense in him. But some scouts believe that his offensive potential in the NHL is going to be limited. What he does do well is play a physical game and he has some good size. As he matures, his body should fill out more and make him a more imposing defenseman. He will probably need some more seasoning before being NHL ready, but I like this kids future. And given that he is from the US NTDP, I have a feeling Burke might lean his direction if he stays at #5.
Morgan Rielly - D
Rielly is another very talented defenseman that should be available at this spot in the draft. He probably has the most offensive upside of all the defenseman, but suffered an ACL injury that limited his action this year. He is a great skater that can really pass the puck and is really smart with the puck. Some have compared his game to Erik Karlsson and that guy can really produce some points from the backend. Rielly's defensive game is getting better, but it is his weakness. He is of average size, but is not very physical at all. If paired with a big, shutdown guy, Rielly would probably be fine, but I would expect him to get more time in the WHL before making the jump to the pro level.
Trade the Pick
If the first 4 Picks unfold as we have them, I believe this will definitely be an option for Toronto. Now what they trade this pick for is completely unknown. They could obviously trade down and try to acquire some additional picks or assets. They could package it with a current roster player and try to acquire a big name player. They could really do just about everything, but I expect something. Given Burke's history, especially with the Leafs, a trade of this pick seems very likely. He has made 40 trades in his 4 years at Toronto's GM. I have a feeling that he is going to try to use this 5th Overall Pick to try and acquire Rick Nash from Columbus, I'm just not sure what the whole package will be.