Various media have reported today that Brian Burke is still hot on the trail of John Tavares. With less than 72 hours left to make a deal, Burke has apparently made no progress but feels he has plenty of time.
I'm glad to hear it. Because for the past few weeks I've been devouring mock drafts and trying to talk myself into three players that the Leafs seem to have the best shot at: Brayden Schenn, Jared Cowen, and Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson.
And it will probably not shock you to learn that it's not going so well.
Yes, each of these three guys sounds like a fantastic player. And each would clearly fill a glaring need on a Leafs roster that has plenty of them. But as you no doubt know by now, it's in my nature to look for the downside as well.
So let's take a look at the three most likely candidates to become your next Maple Leaf savior, and why we may need to downgrade expectations.
has a younger brother
who needs his ass kicked?
The strengths: Is the brother of Luke Schenn.
Seriously, that's really all you need to know. NHL scouts haven't even bothered to watch him. His parents have patiently tried to explain that Brayden doesn't like hockey and has never even been on skates, but he's still Luke's brother so he's a top five pick. End of story.
The concern: I'll be honest, I love the idea of having two brothers form the core of our long-term rebuild. Luke Schenn was such a monster last year that the thought of doubling down on the family gene pool has me giddy.
But let's run down the script here: Luke is older. He's better known. The Leafs traded up to get him, he made the team as a teenager, played on the top pairing for much of the season, was named to the all-rookie team, and earlier today he was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame. When he walks the streets of Toronto, tiny eunuchs scurry in front of him to scatter rose petals.
Now here comes Brayden, the younger brother who may actually be more talented. But he's trapped in his big brother's shadow. And he knows it. Everybody knows it.
If a lifetime of english literature, greek epic poetry and professional wrestling have taught me anything, it's that younger brothers can't be trusted. The potential for an eventual dramatic brotherly backstab is off-the-charts here.
Keep in mind, these two kids are from Western Canada. There's precedent here that should raise all kind of red flags. Don't say you weren't warned if at some point Brayden snaps on Luke, and kicks his leg out of his leg.
impression of every Leaf
fan the day JFJ was hired.
The strengths: Was a consensus top five pick who was even getting some fringe consideration as a potential first overall choice until he blew out his knee this season and slid down the rankings. Has the size and mean streak to be the steal of the draft. If paired with Luke Schenn, would likely play his entire career without ever being on the ice for a goal against.
The concern: None. Drafting a can't-miss defensive stud who dropped in the rankings because he wrecked his knee is always a great idea.
Seriously, this is can't miss. Any time you have a chance to take a top ten pick and turn it into Grant Jennings, you have to go for it.
break Doug Gilmour's team
record for ridiculous hair.
The strengths: MPS, as the kids call him, is a dynamic playmaking winger with excellent size, speed and creativity. Based on raw skill alone he would immediately become the Leafs' best winger, and probably also their second-line center and perhaps backup goalie.
The concern: His name is, literally, impossible to spell. I know this seems petty, but I'm a blogger. This is important to me.
Seriously, take a good long look at it: Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson. WTF?
I don't know about you, but I don't have a "ä" key on my keyboard, let alone three of them. What kind of person fires off a triple umlaut into one name? Is he a hockey player or an 80s hair metal band?
Here's a little known fact about Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson: his full name has only ever been typed once. Since then, every single person who has ever written about him has been cutting and pasting from that original version, passing it down to future generations like monks transcribing the bible. If the Leafs draft him, they should create a page on their web site that just says "Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson" in 36-point font so that writers can easily grab it whenever they need to mention him.
At the very least, can we all agree to ditch the horribly uncreative "MPS" nickname in favor of something better? I'm suggesting "CTRL-V". Who's with me?
As you can see, I'm struggling here.
So please, Burkie, get a deal done. Draft John Tavares for us long-suffering Leaf fans, so that we'll finally have a prospect with no downside.
(You know, other than the poor defensive play, mediocre skating, questionable work ethic... oh god...)
Draft note: I'll be blogging on Friday night during the first round of the draft. I won't call it a liveblog, but I'll try to update a few times over the course of the night.
And since I'm apparently the only hockey blogger on the planet who won't be in Montreal this weekend, I may also try to hack into Pension Plan Puppets and post there too. Assuming PPP hasn't changed the site's password ("gillsux"), head over when the Leafs make their pick and commiserate with me.