In 2016, Seldo wrote about all the biggest players the Leafs traded away as draft picks instead of just keeping them. It was in the run-up to the 2016 NHL Draft and covered all the drafts from 1971 to 2011, and there were some doozies on the list. I thought it would be fun to update that list with the few players that have since emerged as coconuts on the heads of the Leafs brass.
I came up with a list of seven names I thought were fairly notable to the NHL. They fit nicely in two categories. The first is picks traded in big player deals as the team was both buying players for runs, and trying to sell them after those runs went in the toilet. The other category was trading back.
- Jean-Luc Foudy (Kadri deal)
- Seth Jarvis (Marleau deal)
- Alex Volkov (Boyle deal)
- Sam Steel and Maxime Comtois (Andersen deal)
- Travis Konecny (traded back for Dermott, Bracco, and Dzierkals)
- Philipp Grubauer (traded back for Petter Granberg and Daniel Brodin)
- Josh Manson (traded back for Ryan Rupert)
I can mostly forgive the Andersen deal, but trading for Boyle was premature, the Marleau contract and trade was a mess, and giving up the best pick in the Kadri deal stung.
Reading Seldo’s article and researching past it got me thinking about which players the Leafs had the chance to draft, but just didn’t. Having the pick is great and all, but knowing how to use it is most of the battle.
I decided to look for the best players taken one or two picks after the Leafs came to the podium or phone since 2000. I didn’t include any players taken before the Leafs picked, significantly after the Leafs picked (except one), or late round picks because those a crapshoot and the Leafs have actually done pretty well in that category in the past.
Here’s the list I came up with:
- Josh Norris (2017, after Timothy Liljegren)
- Jeremy Swayman (2017, after Ian Scott) (I don’t know who he is but Bruins fans like him)
- Alex Debrincat (2016, eight picks after Egor Korshkov, so not really, but it’s a meme now)
- Sebastian Aho (2015, after Travis Dermott)
- Nicholas Roy (2015, after Jesper Lindgren)
- Andre Burakovsky (2013, after Frederik Gauthier)
- Phillip Danault (2011, after Stuart Percy)
- Brendan Gallagher (2010, after Daniel Brodin)
- Reilly Smith (2009, after Jamie Devane)
- Mike Hoffman (2009, after Eric Knodel)
- Alex Edler (2004, after Justin Pogge)
- Fedor Tyutin (2001, after Karel Pilar)
My takeaways from this are that it’s probably really hard to draft defensemen, and goalies are hands-up-emoji. There was definitely a few forward choices that stung because of the style of player the Leafs were passing over to get the one they liked. Gauthier in the first round, an overager in Korshkov at the start of the second, the OHL-heavy Hunter drafts (which, to be fair Dubas has continued in recent years). I’m unfortunately not yet over missing Aho by one pick. Stuff like that happens, but what if...
I should make it clear that this stuff happens to every team. And if you don’t believe me, go look at the Canucks draft between 2013 and 2016. They had some good picks, but you also come across a lot of “oof”s. Virtanen over Nylander, McCann over Pastrnak, Tryamkin over Foegele, Juolevi over M. Tkachuk. Oof.
Various Leafs and Branches
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a chance to sweep the Montreal Canadiens for the Stanley Cup. The franchise won their first two championships on a Monday on the road, so this would make it three. On one hand, I would say that’s a lot of pressure and it’s hard to believe something like this will happen again, but counterpoint: the Habs suck.
As always, coverage of the series over at our sister site and my first home Raw Charge. Come join our GDT! All are invited.
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Substituted 8 hours of scouts interviews yesterday — @TSNHockey final draft rankings coming out July 19 — for usual July 1 Free Agent Frenzy hijinks. Now my team of mixologists are working feverishly on a new #BobbyMargarita recipe. July 2, BTW, is his birthday. https://t.co/z1XslSmijf pic.twitter.com/7y2FrAfYni— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 2, 2021