Will Trader Cliff Fletcher ride a lucky seven at the draft or trade the pick?
Seventh overall, the highest Maple Leaf selection in 16 years, is considered vital to Toronto's rebuilding hopes, and yet it translates to a quick fix for a defenceman or forward on a talent-thin team. Fletcher's fancy footwork and phone fenagling on the draft floor is well known in the NHL.
"The seventh spot is better this year than what you'd normally get," the interim general manager conceded yesterday, "but it's our responsibility to listen to anything good that another team might offer.
"I don't think there's such a thing as a quick fix anymore, but we could either trade it, use it to move up, move down, exchange a pick with someone or use it ourselves."
The final Central Scouting rankings included Sarnia Sting forward Steve Stamkos at the top, then five North American defencemen: Zach Bogosian, Drew Doughty, Tyler Myers, Luke Schenn and Alex Pietrangelo. Russian forward Nikita Filatov likely will go in the top 10, too.
TUCKS, RAZOR AWAIT FATE
The agents for winger Darcy Tucker and goalie Andrew Raycroft have not received any hints from the Leafs about rumoured contractual buyouts as June 15 looms. Their relatively low salaries (Tucker at $3 million US a year for the next three years, Raycroft at $2.2 million for this season), make them prime candidates, fair or not. Tucker would cost the Leafs $1 million a season for the next six seasons.
"It's obviously something the Leafs are considering," Tucker's agent, Carlos Sosa, said yesterday. "But we're ready. If they want him, great, if not, Darcy won't be unemployed for long.
"His preference remains to be a Leaf. He could've made more money outside of Toronto, but he enjoys it here and this is his home. We'll see what happens."
Jordan Neumann, Raycroft's agent, does not believe the Leafs will decide on his client until the new coach is picked. But if it's Ron Wilson, that will confirm that his ex-Sharks goalie Vesa Toskala will get even more rope as the No. 1 goalie. Raycroft would cost the Leafs around $733,000 for two years to buy out.
"Andrew certainly has had highs and lows as a Leaf, but he'd welcome the opportunity to redeem himself there," Neumann said.
Neumann also represents unrestricted free agent Leafs/Marlies goalie Scott Clemmensen. With Justin Pogge likely to be No. 1 with the Marlies all of next year, it's possible the Leafs cash in Raycroft and re-sign Clemmensen at a lower price to back up Toskala.
ACC GETS CLOCKED
Mitsubishi Electric has been chosen by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. to install a new 17-screen scoreboard featuring a cutting-edge Diamond Vision high-definition display system at the Air Canada Centre. It should be in place by Aug. 1.