Will eight be great for Maple Leafs?

Left-winger Jake Virtanen (right) had 71 points in 71 games with the WHL's Calgary Hitmen last...

Left-winger Jake Virtanen (right) had 71 points in 71 games with the WHL's Calgary Hitmen last season. (Lyle Aspinall/QMI Agency/Files)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:06 PM ET

TORONTO - Back in 1970, the Maple Leafs used the No. 8 pick in the NHL draft to select a shaggy-haired forward from the London Knights.

And with that, the legend of Darryl Sittler was born.

Some 44 years later, it’s doubtful the Leafs can catch lightning in a blue-and-white bottle again when they are in that eighth slot for the 2014 entry draft in Philadelphia on Friday. Hall of Fame franchise players like Sittler are hard to come by, especially for a franchise that has not won a Stanley Cup since 1967.

It’s no secret that the Leafs have attempted to trade up into the top three, where young talent such as Barrie defenceman Aaron Ekblad and Kingston centre Sam Bennett certainly are appealing.

But to hear those decision-makers with the Leafs say it, the organization will be quite content with the cache of available talent at No. 8 should no deal be worked out.

“This is a very deep draft,” Leafs general manager Dave Nonis said.


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