Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas left it late with Toronto's first-round pick in the NHL's pandemic-delayed draft.
It wasn't about the player, but whether or not there was a trade to be made.
In the end, Dubas stood pat, selecting winger Rodion Amirov with the 15th overall pick Tuesday.
"We try to reduce the drama as much as we can," Dubas said with a laugh on a post-draft video conference call with reporters. "There were a number of trade situations that we were considering, but if we were going to make the pick it wasn't at all a discussion of Rodion versus anybody else.
"We were just contemplating all the different scenarios that were coming in."
The six-foot Amirov played 21 games in the Kontinental Hockey League with Ufa in 2019-20, picking up two assists. He has three goals and two assists in 10 games so far with Ufa this season.
Dubas said Amirov's speed is one of his biggest assets.
"We considered it to be amongst the best in the (draft) class," said the GM. "We liked his ability throughout last year and into this season to find a way to make an impact at the KHL level.
"He certainly did that, especially as they've had some injuries and illness on their club, he's been able to step up this year to play."
The Leafs traded their original first-round pick, which turned out to be 13th overall, to the Carolina Hurricanes to get veteran winger Patrick Marleau's salary off the books prior to the 2019 draft in Vancouver.
But Toronto got another seat at the table by securing the No. 15 selection from Pittsburgh as part of the deal that saw winger Kasperi Kapanen join the Penguins — the team that drafted him in 2014 — in late August.
The Hurricanes grabbed centre Seth Jarvis of the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks with Tuesday's 13th selection.
Toronto has 10 more picks heading into rounds two through seven of the draft set for Wednesday, but just one — No. 44 — before the start of the fourth round.
The Leafs were part of the NHL's 24-team restart to its pandemic-delayed season this summer, but lost out to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the qualifying round.
That disappointing five-game defeat came on the heels of consecutive playoff losses to the Boston Bruins, and once again called Toronto's core — led by high-priced forwards Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander — into question.
Dubas has so far resisted making any major changes to that group, but indicated in a video conference call with reporters Monday he wants to make his team harder to play against moving forward.
Toronto, which didn't have a first-round pick in 2019 after trading for blue-liner Jake Muzzin, selected defencemen Timothy Liljegren and Rasmus Sandin in 2017 and 2018, respectively. The Leafs did get a promising offensive threat from last year's draft in second-rounder Nick Robertson, who led the Ontario Hockey League with 55 goals before making his NHL debut as an 18-year-old during the restart.
Now the Leafs hope they have another impact forward in Amirov coming down the pipe.
"When he's not producing he's able to contribute using a speed on the penalty kill, forechecking," Dubas said. "We really like to see him on and off the puck.
"We were excited to have a chance to take him when we did."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2020.
Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly stated that Amirov was the first Russian selected at the draft.