Welcome to Civil Discourse, an article series where two TLN writers discuss a topic of interest rationally without resorting to personal insults. So basically the anti-Twitter.
The Leafs have not drafted in the first round with their own pick since 2018 when they selected Rasmus Sandin at #29 (and even then, they traded down from #25 to make the pick). In 2019 they moved their first-rounder in the Jake Muzzin deal, in 2020 they moved it to Carolina to get out from under Patrick Marleau’s albatross contract, and in 2021 they traded it for Nick Foligno which… did not go as planned.
The Leafs, therefore, have not gotten much benefit from trading first-rounders over the last two seasons. This understandably has some fans shy about the Leafs continuing to spend high-end draft capital to improve their roster. For other fans, the time is now: Auston Matthews is only signed for two more seasons after this year and they feel pressure to go all-in every year while he’s in his prime. Where do you land on this, Jon?
If the Leafs are going to truly upgrade at the trade deadline this season and not just simply shuffle deckchairs, it seems reasonable to discuss Toronto’s first, and admittedly I lack a straightforward answer on this.
Primarily I look at the fact that the Leafs are in tough no matter what. Their path out of the Atlantic involves Florida and Tampa and while that isn’t going to change next year, it does make me risk-averse about spending important assets like a first-round pick for what on its own is valued around 10 games of Nick Foligno.
(On a side no …
Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation