Popular podcast releases hypothetical 2014 re-draft; who would the Leafs have drafted with Nylander going 5th overall?

Mike Armenti
September 19, 2023  (3:07 PM)

As we work our way through one of the final days of the offseason where hockey news is much tougher to come by, one interesting subject for discussion was raised by the fine folks over at the Staff & Graph Podcast, involving what a re-draft might look like for the 2014 draft class.

In 2014, the Maple Leafs held the 8th overall pick, which they used to select Swedish winger William Nylander. Aside from his tumultuous 2018 contract negotiations and the current set of contract talks, nobody can really argue with the results that Nylander has been able to produce on the ice.
The 27-year-old winger is coming off of a sensational season, where he produced a career high 40 goals and 87 points, which he followed up with a 10-point performance in the playoffs through 11 games before the Leafs were ousted in round 2 by Florida. In total, he has amassed 430 career points in 521 career regular season games and 40 points in 50 career playoff games.
According to Staff & Graph's findings, if we did a 2014 re-draft today, the list could have looked something like this, with the Leafs drafting a current Florida Panthers winger:
Now, obviously, we don't know exactly how the production of these players were weighted and what type of information was used to arrange this list, but for the most part, I think most of us can agree with the top 3 being Draisaitl, Pastrnak and Point. After that, it gets a little more dicey. There are two pretty exceptional goalies in the bunch in Igor Shesterkin and Ilya Sorokin. I have a hard time believing that the Flames, knowing what we know now about their career trajectories, would pass up on either elite young goaltender. Nylander going to Long Island at #5 though is pretty humorous.
Also, would that have changed John Tavares' career trajectory? Tavares didn't really have a lot of help on the wing during his time on Long Island, but if the Isles had drafted Nylander in 2014 instead of Michael Dal Colle, Tavares would have had a legit top line winger to play with, which may have impacted his decision to leave the Islanders as a free agent in 2018. Who knows?
Sam Reinhart landing in Toronto with the 8th overall pick doesn't seem like the most likely outcome there either, especially with Dylan Larkin on the board. The Leafs could have also used a new top goaltender, so if Sorokin had slipped to #9, perhaps the Leafs would have selected him over Reinhart.
Honestly, this is all completely subjective and not at all based in reality. But it's fun to think about nevertheless. Do you think the Leafs would have selected Sam Reinhart with the 8th overall pick in a 2014 re-draft? Let us know in the poll below.
Popular podcast releases hypothetical 2014 re-draft; who would the Leafs have drafted with Nylander going 5th overall?

If there was a 2014 re-draft, who would the Leafs have drafted with the 8th overall pick?

Sam Reinhart125.8 %
Dylan Larkin7134.3 %
Ilya Sorokin5526.6 %
Re-drafts are hypothetical and stupid6933.3 %
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