The more bullets, the better.
That, in a nutshell, is the Toronto Maple Leafs’ draft strategy under the new regime led by Brendan Shanahan.
In today’s trade with the Sharks, the Leafs added a couple of more second-round picks to their stockpile, these ones in 2017 and 2018.
“I think the picks are the most important thing that we’ve got in these transactions,” GM Lou Lamoriello told reporters in a conference call.
The Leafs had already piled up twelve picks for the 2016 draft, as per General Fanager:
The strategy is a stark departure from the years when Brian Burke was in charge. Back then, the mantra was “July 1 will be our draft” — a philosophy that, for a number of reasons, didn’t work out so well.
Consistent with their embracing of analytics, the Leafs under the new regime have made the draft as much about playing the percentages as talent evaluation. I.e., if a second-rounder has a 20 percent chance of panning out, then two second-rounders make it 40 percent they get themselves a player. (Or whatever the exact probability, it’s higher.)
Though the Leafs are still a long ways from competing for the Stanley Cup — in fact, their current roster is arguably the worst in the NHL — management is steadfastly executing its long-term plan, which includes “pain” now for, hopefully, gain later.
Toronto already has a well-regarded group of prospects, led by Mitch Marner and William Nylander.
Lamoriello also noted that the Leafs, in the future, could trade some of their picks for players.
Related: Trade target: P.A. Parenteau