It’s already been an offseason of change for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and now it sounds like they’re trying to make a big splash ahead of the draft.
The Toronto Sun reports that the Leafs are looking to trade up in the upcoming NHL entry draft. Toronto currently holds the No. 8 pick in the draft, but according to the report, the Maple Leafs are looking to jump as high as the No. 1 pick.
The Florida Panthers currently hold the No. 1 pick in the June 27 draft. The Panthers are open to moving that top pick, but it won’t come cheap.
Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf has been the subject of recent trade rumors, and he likely would be on the move if the Leafs were able to wrestle the top pick from Dale Tallon and the Panthers.
What would it take? The rumor, according to the Sun, is that the teams would swap not only picks, but captains, as well, with the Maple Leafs sending Phaneuf, center Nazem Kadri and the No. 8 pick to Florida for Ed Jovanovski and the top pick.
There isn’t a can’t-miss prospect at the top of the draft, but Toronto likely would use the pick to grab defenseman Aaron Ekblad, the projected No. 1 pick in the NESN.com mock draft.
Ekblad is a big body at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, and he would be a valuable piece on the Maple Leafs’ blue line for a long time to come. He would be an effective player on both ends of the ice and would help the Leafs continue their efforts to build from the back end out.