Draft days really lend themselves to “What if?” scenarios, but that seemingly applied to the Toronto Maple Leafs in particular.
The suddenly analytics-minded franchise traded down twice during the early moments of the 2015 NHL Draft, turning the 24th pick to the 29th pick and 61st, then eventually transformed that 29th into the 34th and 68th selections.
That second move-down happened with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets spotted something even more interesting: Toronto floated a deal to Columbus that would have involved the following before that swap ever happened:
- Blue Jackets would have received the fourth overall pick.
- Maple Leafs get choices eight, 34, 38 and 58.
That didn’t happen, yet the Leafs ended up making the 34th pick of the draft anyway by sending the 29th pick to Columbus. That 34th choice ended up being Travis Dermott (pictured), who signed an entry-level contract with the Maple Leafs on Wednesday.
Pension Plan Puppets postulates that Dermott might not have ended up in Toronto’s organization if the Maple Leafs pulled off that exchange of high first-round picks:
Had the trade been made, it would have likely meant the Leafs wouldn’t have moved back later in the first round to select Dermott, and would have instead also had a shot at taking a player such as Travis Konecny, Nick Merkley or Jeremy Roy with their original 24th overall selection.
Really, the hypotheticals can get a little dizzying when you consider the multiple draft picks that actually ended up being involved and the ones that could have been involved. Most obviously, Leafs fans may wonder about various scenarios if they didn’t stick with the fourth pick and land Mitch Marner.
Of course, Marner ended up with Toronto, and so did Dermott. If nothing else, people cannot charge the Maple Leafs with being lazy this summer, and that busy run extends to the draft.
The 18-year-old defenseman scored 45 points in 61 games with the OHL’s Lake Erie Otters in 2014-15.
Here’s that draft day video of Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen, which PPP pointed out:
Interesting stuff to ponder during this long hockey summer, right?