The 2013 NHL draft may still be about eight months away, but without much else to focus on thanks to the current work stoppage, previewing the Toronto Maple Leafs' next draft is something for us fans to focus on that isn't lockout related.
2013's draft class is one that is considered to be rich with talent, especially at the center position.
That is just what the Leafs need.
Assuming this lockout drags on all season and the Leafs aren't terribly unlucky when it comes to the draft lottery, Toronto may have the luxury of yet another top-10 draft selection.
If that were to happen, it would be the perfect opportunity to draft another center in an effort to address their needs up the middle.
From potential franchise players like Nathan MacKinnon (who Craig Button compares to Peter Forsberg) to more two-way types in Swedish youngster Jacob De La Rose, the 2013 draft has it all.
While Leafs GM Brian Burke may have ended up making the right choice in taking two defensemen in this year's draft, despite the organizational depth on the blue line, doing so again would be a costly mistake.
The Leafs' future should be set on the back end, and Toronto must focus on finding their No. 1 center.
Sure, people may be in love with the idea of simply signing Ryan Getzlaf once free agency opens in July, but that is far from a guarantee, and not having a contingency plan could be disastrous.
Even if the Leafs end up signing Getzlaf, it's not as if their drafted player will be ready to make the jump to the NHL immediately.
It would also make it easier to trade away valuable assets like Joe Colborne or Nazem Kadri to address other areas of need on the roster.
No matter how you slice it, barring a major case of bad luck in the draft lottery, the Maple Leafs will have another high draft pick in a draft stacked with talent at the very position they need.
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