What are the Maple Leafs getting in their 2024 draft picks? (2024)

LAS VEGAS — As expected, the Toronto Maple Leafs left the sweltering desert heat with more new prospects and future picks than anticipated. After trading down from their first-round pick, No. 23, to acquire the 31st and 58th picks in this draft, the Leafs then moved that 58th pick for a second-round pick in next year’s draft and another seventh-round pick this year.

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Yes, the odds of finding impactful talent late in the draft are significantly lower than in higher rounds. Still, in the process, the Leafs acquired their highest 2025 pick as it stands. Remember, the Leafs did not have a pick in the first four rounds of next year’s draft.

Add it up and the Leafs now have more possibilities for future NHL players than they did before they arrived in Vegas.

Let’s break down who they acquired and what each player could bring.

Pick No. 1:Ben Danford
Drafted: First round, No. 31 | Position: RHD
Age:18 |Height: 6-foot-2 | Weight: 191 pounds
2023-24 Stats: 64 GP, 1 G, 32 A, 33 pts (Oshawa Generals, OHL)

Danford checks nearly every box for a Maple Leafs first-round pick under director of amateur scouting Wes Clark.

The right-shot defenceman has a strong internal drive. He is a relentless competitor and possesses the kind of maturity and character the Leafs value. Intangibles matter to the Leafs scouting staff and the right-shot, defence-first blueliner has them.

“Every time I call players in the summer, they’re at the gym or something else,” Generals general manager Roger Hunt said. “But when I talk to Ben, I can always hear heavy machinery in the background or a lawnmower or a tractor. This guy just does not stop working. He’s just a working-class guy.”

The pick might not scream “high upside” but the selection of Danford also feels like it satisfies an organizational need in the process.

“Ben’s a guy that our staff was real passionate about all year,” Leafs GM Brad Treliving said. “I’ve seen the player lots, watched a lot of video on him as well. I think he’s an underrated player right now. He skates so well. The way he defends, he’s able to gap up with his puck retrievals. I think the offensive side of his game is still going to grow. He’s a hard defender. High character guy, very competitive. Lots to like with him. We’re really excited.”

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The Leafs had been following Danford heavily in the second half of the season, with Leafs special adviser to the general manager Shane Doan making multiple visits to Oshawa to watch Danford up close and interview him as well. Doan and the Leafs would have learned just how prevalent Danford’s rugged, no-nonsense approach is, paired with his worker-bee mentality.

“You know the term ‘warrior?’ That’s what he is like,” Hunt said. “I’m telling you, he’s a guy you would go into battle with.”

Much like last season with the first-round pick of Easton Cowan that raised a lot of eyeballs, Clark and the Leafs found their guy, weren’t afraid to zig where others zagged and took a swing.

“Ben was the target all the way along. We’re lucky we got him,” Clark said.

GO DEEPERThe Maple Leafs' prospect pool is thin on defence. Enter Ben Danford

Pick No. 2:Victor Johansson
Drafted: Fourth round, No. 120 | Position:LHD
Age:18 |Height: 6 feet | Weight: 143 pounds
2023-24 Stats: 34 GP, 2 G, 6 A, 8 pts (Leksands, Sweden Under-20)

Johansson is a two-way defenceman who can read the play well with demonstrated hockey IQ.

“In fact, he’s always ahead of the game. He always makes the right decision with the puck and can set up plays from the back of the ice,” Mattias Ritola, Leksands’ head of player development, said. “He’s kind of forgotten, but I think it’s a really good pick by Toronto. It’s really good scouting on their part.”

Johansson’s weight will undoubtedly stick out but it’s worth noting Johansson suffered multiple injuries as a teenager and lost valuable time in the gym. His focus this summer is adding serious muscle. Ritola said he’s already seeing progress in Johansson adding size this summer alone. If you’re the Leafs, you probably believe you found a player overlooked because of those injuries and his size. They likely see Johansson as a player whose development curve is just beginning its upswing. The Leafs value his intelligence, competitiveness and how he does so many of the little things in the game right.

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“We think there’s a lot of room to grow there,” Clark said.

It’s likely Johansson will spend most of his time next season with Leksands’ under-20 team but if he shows promise in his development, it’s possible he gets called up to Leksands’ senior team. If he does, there should be a focus on increasing his production.

“He’s got some offence in him for sure. That’s because he’s so smart and always puts the puck exactly where it should go,” Ritola said.

Johansson’s cousin is Alex Wennberg and his brother Anton was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the fourth round of the 2022 draft.

The newest member of Leafs Nation: Victor Johansson 🍁 pic.twitter.com/qHs7zi2VUm

— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) June 29, 2024

Pick No. 3:Miroslav Holinka
Drafted: Fifth round, No. 151 | Position:C
Age:18 |Height: 6-foot-1 | Weight: 185 pounds
2023-24 Stats: 29 GP, 20 G, 21 A, 41 pts (Oceláři Třinec U20, Czechia Under-20)

Holinka bounced back and forth between Czechia’s under-20 and senior league this season. In the junior league, he was a prolific scorer which suggested a future as a centre who could produce. But with Třinec’s senior team, that wasn’t the case. He scored just one goal in 16 games. Perhaps that’s understandable given his propensity to skate at defenders and dangle the puck. Look, he clearly has hands that are well above average. But in professional hockey, Holinka might need to diversify his offensive approach.

“(Holinka) can zip the puck, he can really shoot the pick. But we really like his intelligence,” Clark said.

Clark said it’s likely Holinka will come to North America this season.

Pick No. 4:Alexander Plesovskikh
Drafted: Fifth round, No. 152 | Position:LW
Age: 17 | Height: 6-foot-2 | Weight: 174 pounds
2023-24 Stats: 33 GP, 8 G, 9 A, 17 pts (Khanty-Mansiysk Jr., MHL)

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More and more, it felt like the Leafs were willing to take young players (Plesovskikh’s August 2006 birthday makes him one of the youngest draft-eligible players this year) and then remain confident while stashing them away for a few seasons.

The Leafs like Plesovskikh’s competitiveness and two-way game. At his best, Plesovskikh is a direct player.

Plesovskikh is more of a bottom-six forward who isn’t afraid to play physically. He thrived in an energy-type fourth-line role. Plesovskikh is under contract for two more years and will move to Spartak Moscow, one of Russia’s bigger organizations. The eyeballs on him and the pressure he could face in a Leafs-esque environment could be a boon to his career long-term.

Pick No. 5:Timofei Obvintsev
Drafted: Fifth round, No. 157 | Position:G
Age: 19 | Height: 6-foot-4 | Weight: 178 pounds
2023-24 Stats: 16 GP, .921 save percentage (CSKA Jr., MHL)

The Leafs have had tremendous success with Russian goalies of late, as Artur Akhtyamov looks ready for the AHL after an MVP performance in Russia’s second-tier VHL this season. And with their lone goalie pick of this draft, the Leafs went back to Russia for another sizeable goalie with excellent numbers in Russia’s junior league.

“It seems like that’s a trend here in the last few years,” Clark said, again with a grin, of the Leafs’ tendencies to select Russian goalies.

Speaking of trends: Obvintsev’s size is in vogue among NHL teams and their desires for goalies.

Also, like recent goalies the Leafs have picked (Dennis Hildeby included), Obvintsev is a second-year draft-eligible player. He was not included on NHL Central Scouting’s list of international goalies. It bears repeating if this wasn’t already obvious: Clark and the Leafs scouts like to find diamonds in the rough. And with a goalie passed over in previous drafts, they hope to have found another.

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Obvintsev is under contract for one more season in Russia.

Pick No. 6:Matt Lahey
Drafted: Seventh round, No. 200 | Position:LHD
Age: 17 | Height: 6-foot-5 | Weight: 201 pounds
2023-24 Stats: 54 GP, 2 G, 17 A, 19 pts (Nanaimo Clippers, BCHL)

With his serious length and range as well as excellent defensive inclinations, Lahey suffocated opposition forwards throughout his final season in the BCHL. The defence-first blueliner clearly fills a positional need. It’s hard not to see the Leafs making half of their picks defencemen as a clear indication that defence prospects are in short supply in the organization.

“People see (Lahey’s size) and they paint a picture of what they want him to be. But the reality is he’s a very, very smart player,” Clippers head coach Colin Birkas said.

The offence isn’t there yet, partly because of how simple his game in the offensive zone can be. Creativity isn’t his strong suit, but there is a belief that with his clear intelligence, he can learn to implement those touches into his game.

“He’s got a lot of offence to his game that will come this year,” Birkas said. “He does have a bit of bite to him, he’s very aware. But what Toronto fans should be excited about is by the time he leaves college, he should be anchoring a power play.”

With that in mind, expect Lahey to spend as long as he’d like playing NCAA hockey down the line.

“He’s a long-term play,” Clark said.

Lahey is headed to the USHL’s Fargo Force next season with plans on attending the University of North Dakota the season afterward.

Pick No. 7:Sam McCue
Drafted: Seventh round, No. 216 | Position:LW
Age:18 |Height: 6-foot-1 | Weight: 187 pounds
2023-24 Stats: 68 GP, 23 G, 14 A, 37 pts (Owen Sound, OHL)

McCue typifies the relentlessness that Clark often wants in his picks, such as Cowan last season. The winger can skate well enough and zips around the ice with purpose. As he does, McCue does not give up on pucks and throws his body around almost fearlessly.

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“He’s got an edge to his game,” Clark said. “(Leafs scout Chris Roque) is one of our top scouts (who) had a lot of passion for him.”

The concern is that McCue’s energetic approach doesn’t always translate to production. His hands don’t suggest playmaker or shooter and moving forward, McCue will need to establish more of an offensive identity. But the energy alone means he’s going to do his best to try and get to where he needs to be.

Pick No. 8:Nathan Mayes
Drafted: Seventh round, No. 225 | Position:LHD
Age: 17 | Height: 6-foot-4 | Weight: 194 pounds
2023-24 Stats: 68 GP, 1 G, 15 A, 16 pts (Spokane, WHL)

Mayes is young and like many of the Leafs’ picks, could be early in his development. But that doesn’t take away from the fact he plays a game that could have a home in the NHL one day: He is heavy, aggressive and punishing with his physicality.

“I think we know what (Treliving) likes, so we try to execute,” Clark said with a wry grin.

The puck skills aren’t there, but there was reason to believe that production could come.

“In the second half of the season, he started to show more offence. He did that by making a good first pass and jumping into the rush. He had a few nice goals from that,” Spokane Chiefs GM Matt Bardsley said.

Either way, Mayes’ ability to defend well and neutralize some of the WHL’s best players could help him long-term.

(Photo of Brad Treliving and Ben Danford: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)

What are the Maple Leafs getting in their 2024 draft picks? (2024)

FAQs

What are the Maple Leafs getting in their 2024 draft picks? ›

The San Jose Sharks held the first overall pick for the first time in franchise history. The first three selections were Macklin Celebrini going to the San Jose Sharks, Artyom Levshunov being selected by the Chicago Blackhawks, and Beckett Sennecke being picked by the Anaheim Ducks.

Who did Toronto Maple Leafs draft in 2024? ›

NHL Entry Draft Drafted by Toronto Maple Leafs
Rnd#Player
2024
1#31Ben Danford (D)
4#120Victor Johansson (D)
5#151Miroslav Holinka (F)
77 more rows

Who has the first round pick NHL 2024? ›

The San Jose Sharks held the first overall pick for the first time in franchise history. The first three selections were Macklin Celebrini going to the San Jose Sharks, Artyom Levshunov being selected by the Chicago Blackhawks, and Beckett Sennecke being picked by the Anaheim Ducks.

Do the Raptors have their 2024 draft pick? ›

The Toronto Raptors received the eighth pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, which means the pick will now belong to the San Antonio Spurs.

Who drafted John Tavares? ›

John Tavares was selected first overall by the New York Islanders. Victor Hedman was selected second overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Evander Kane was selected fourth overall by the Atlanta Thrashers. Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson was selected tenth overall by the Edmonton Oilers.

Which NHL team has the most first round picks? ›

Three players retired without having played an NHL game. The Montreal Canadiens have had the most first overall picks of any other team, selecting six players first overall since 1963.

How many picks does each team get in the NHL draft? ›

The selection order remains the same for subsequent rounds, but the number of picks may vary due to trades or compensatory picks. Typically, each team has one pick per round, resulting in an additional 192 players selected in rounds two to seven (31 teams multiplied by six rounds).

How many draft picks does Montreal have in 2024? ›

Habs set for a busy 2024 Entry Draft with 10 picks

Habs fans will be watching what the Montreal Canadiens will do with their ten picks in the 2024 draft, most notably picks five and 21 in the first round.

Who got the first pick in the NBA draft 2024? ›

The Atlanta Hawks select Zaccharie Risacher (France) as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft at Barclays Center.

How many draft picks do the flyers have in 2024? ›

Flyers draft picks 2024

The Flyers have 10 picks, including four in the first two rounds of the 2025 NHL draft. The Flyers could have an additional second-round pick (36th overall) in this year's draft. Here are the Flyers' 2024 NHL draft picks.

Do the Penguins have a first round pick in 2024? ›

– The Pittsburgh Penguins may not have had a first-round pick at this year's 2024 NHL Entry Draft, but that didn't stop the Black & Gold from stockpiling some solid talent in the later rounds.

What draft picks do the Anaheim Ducks have in 2024? ›

The Ducks have eight selections in the 2024 NHL Draft:
  • First Round, 3rd Overall - Beckett Sennecke, RW, Oshawa (OHL)
  • First Round, 23rd Overall - Stian Solberg, D, Valerenga (Norway)
  • Second Round, 35th Overall - Lucas Pettersson, C, Modo Jr. ...
  • Third Round, 66th Overall - Maxim Masse, RW, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)

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