Draft Outlook: Who will the Leafs and Canucks take? Staff

6/18/2008 2:03:50 PM

With the seventh overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the game plan for the Toronto Maple Leafs would be to take the best player available.

And having a very deep talent pool certainly helps, with forwards Nikita Filatov, Colin Wilson, Kyle Beach and Mikkel Boedker and blueliner Luke Schenn projected to go around that spot.

However, the team may be willing to consider a trade to move up higher in the order. That won't be clarified until closer to Friday, as interim general manager Cliff Fletcher will be wondering if the asking price is worth it.

Historically, the Maple Leafs are no strangers to making deals on draft week. In 1994, Fletcher pulled perhaps the biggest draft day trade of them all by packaging popular captain Wendel Clark to the Quebec Nordiques in a blockbuster deal for Mats Sundin.

In 2006, general manager John Ferguson Jr. raised plenty of eyebrows, sending goaltending prospect Tuukka Rask to the Boston Bruins for Andrew Raycroft. A year later, the team revamped its goaltending again, trading three high draft picks to the San Jose Sharks for netminder Vesa Toskala and forward Mark Bell.

While the draft day moves that the Leafs have made in recent years were geared towards improving the team for the present, there are few doubts that anything Fletcher does on Friday will be in an effort to build for the future - and whoever takes the permanent role of general manager.

Maple Leafs' 2008 selection - 7th
Bob McKenzie's 7th ranked prospect - F Mikkel Boedker
Notable picks at No. 7 (1997 - 2006): D Paul Mara, D Mike Komisarek, F Joffrey Lupul, D Ryan Suter, F Rostislav Olesz, F Kyle Okposo

In Vancouver, the Canucks hold the 10th selection in the draft, making it the second time since 1999 that the team has a Top 10 pick.

In recent years, the Canucks' draft record in Round 1 has been relatively sketchy. Since 1999, centre Ryan Kesler is the only player taken in the first round who's been penciled in for a regular roster spot. Only one other first rounder is playing in the NHL - centre R.J. Umberger, who plays for the Philadelphia Flyers.

That being said, many hockey pundits and scouts believe that this is the last chance for Vancouver's current group of scouts and personnel staff to get it right.

At No. 10, Everett Silvertips forward Kyle Beach could be available. His combination of toughness, speed and skill could make him a valuable asset. Character issues aside, he could be too good to pass up if he's available.

While a big draft day trade is unlikely for GM Mike Gillis, the Canucks have a storied history of pulling off some blockbusters at the podium. In 1995, then-general manager Pat Quinn packaged centre Michael Peca in a deal to Buffalo in exchange for All-Star winger Alexander Mogilny. In 1999, Brian Burke made an eye-popping deal to secure both the second and third-overall picks to draft Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

Canucks' 2008 selection - 10th
Bob McKenzie's 10th ranked prospect - F Kyle Beach
Notable picks at No. 10 (1997 - 2006): F Nik Antropov, F Andrei Kostitsyn