Could Toronto Trade Down with New Jersey?
The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the most heavily covered teams headed into this draft. They have multiple big names on the trade market, including Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf. But, the Leafs first and smartest move could come via the trade board itself.
The Leafs currently hold the 4th overall pick. The general consensus is that they will go with a forward like Dylan Strome or Mitch Marner, which is entirely possible, but the Leafs also have their eye on defenseman Ivan Provorov.
Provorov appeared in 60 games for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL last season, tallying 15 goals and 61 points. Provorov has been highly scouted and thought highly of by Toronto personnel and executives around the league. Provorov is considered one of the best overall defensemen in this draft, behind Noah Hanifin. The Leafs, due to this, could swing a trade and acquire some additional pieces if they choose to go down the road of selecting Provorov.
The Devils have the #6 pick. They are generally looking for offense, as they already have three solid defensive prospects in Eric Gelinas, Damon Severson and Jon Merrill. Matthew Barzal will certainly be there if they stay put, but they could move up to get an even better prospect, like Strome or Marner.
The Devils don’t have an abundance of prospects, but are in need of one bonafide one. Strome lead the OHL in scoring last season with 129 points in 68 games. Marner had 126 in 63. Both players played in the OHL, whereas Barzal, who had 57 points in 44 games, played in the WHL.
It could benefit both teams to make a trade. The Devils could give up #6 and an additional pick or prospect (like Matteau, maybe) and Toronto could give up #4. Toronto gets their guy, Provorov, and the Devils get a dynamic forward like Marner or Strome, more likely Marner due to Arizona’s heavy interest in Strome.
If pulled off correctly, a move like this could work out for both franchises. The Leafs could easily get Provorov at their pick, but it’d be wise to move down if they truly do want him. The Shero era is also beginning in New Jersey, which means big changes are coming.
Only 5 days until we find out how it all shakes down.