- Mike Ziesberger of the Toronto Sun: There is talk that the Maple Leafs are interested in moving up in the draft. At the draft combine, the Leafs set up a late interview with one of the players that is projected to go in the top three.
“Word is, they are exploring moving up — it’s more than due diligence,” said a source familiar with the Leafs activities at the combine.
- Damien Cox of the Toronto Star: The Leafs need to get creative to increase their talent, and moving up in draft could be one way to do so. Their 2015 1st round pick and Morgan Rielly are untouchable. Moving one of Jake Gardiner and Nazem Kadri would be intriguing.
- Hope Smoke: Bob McKenzie: “There is one player the Leafs would be interested at the tip of the draft and that’s Sam Bennett” … “The scouts aren’t saying he’ll be as good as him but they compare Bennett’s game to Toews” … “I have no specific knowledge that the Leafs are trying to get up in that spot or that they want Bennett, but for a team that needs centre iceman that’s an option for them” … “Bennett is a centre, but he’s not a franchise defining player by any stretch of the imagination like a McDavid or Eichel” … “Bennett’s a real good C. There are a lot of scouts I talk to, and you have to be real careful how you throw this word around, but he plays like Jonathan Toews. Plays a similar game. Scouts aren’t saying he’ll be as good as Toews.” … “They are saying, when you have a player with those kinds of qualities that play the 200′ game that have some edge to his game, but also has the ability to be offensive and make plays, that’s an intriguing possibility” … “So, if you’re the Leafs & you’re always looking for that centre that can play in the league for 10-15 years this might be the guy”