Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Best and Worst Leafs 1st Round Picks in the last 20 years

The days continue to count down to the NHL Draft edition 2009. Brian Burke huddles with his team of scouts wondering which prospect the Leafs will select with their 1st Round pick hoping that he finds a blue chip prospect. The Leafs have the 7th Overall pick if they remain their and in our mock draft we have the Leafs selecting defensemen Jared Cowan, if the Leafs select Cowan or any other player how will they rank compared to the previous players Leafs first round picks?

The Leafs over the previous twenty drafts have had nineteen first round picks with three of the picks coming in the 1989 draft and two each in the 1992 and 1993 drafts. The Leafs have had no first round pick in six of the past twenty drafts.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Top 5, 1st Round Picks from 1988-2008

1- Brad Boyes taken in the 2000 Draft, 24th Overall

Boyes never did dress as a Maple Leaf but has scored 76 goals over the last two seasons in St. Louis, something we could use more of in the blue and white. Boyes was part of the 2005-06 NHL All Rookie team as a member of the Boston Bruins.

Note: Brad Boyes was traded along with Alyn McCauley and a 1st Round pick in 2003 (Mark Stuart) to the San Jose Sharks for Owen Nolan. (March 5, 2003)

2- Kenny Jonsson taken in the 1993 Draft, 12th Overall

Jonsson was to be a future cog of the Leafs defense for years but he lasted all of 89 games. Jonsson was named to the 1994-95 NHL All Rookie team and the 1999 All Star Game.

Note: Kenny Jonsson was traded along with Darby Hendrickson, Sean Haggerty and the Leafs 1st Round pick in 1997 (Roberto Luongo) to the New York Islanders for Wendel Clark, Mathieu Schneider and D.J. Smith. (March 13, 1996)

3- Nik Antropov taken in the 1998 Draft, 10th Overall

Antropov started his career spending many nights in the teams medical room dealing with injuries but has been injury free the past two seasons and chipped in 47 goals over that span. Antropov played in 510 games as a Leaf.

Note: Nik Antropov was traded to the New York Rangers for a 2nd Round pick in 2009 and a conditional pick. (February 9, 2009)

4- Scott Thornton taken in the 1989 Draft, 3rd Overall

Thornton played in only 33 games as a Leaf but the gritty player had a long NHL career in which he dressed in 941 games. Thornton played for three Canadian NHL teams in Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton.

Note: Scott Thornton was traded along with Vincent Damphousse, Luke Richardson and Peter Ing to the Edmonton Oilers for Grant Fuhr, Glenn Anderson and Craig Berube. (September 19, 1991)

5- Luke Schenn taken in the 2008 Draft, 5th Overall

Schenn stormed into Toronto this past season, cracking the Leafs roster and being selected to the 2008-09 NHL All Rookie team. Schenn may move up this ladder over his career, this is not a knock on Schenn but it clearly shows how poor the Leafs have drafted over the last twenty seasons to have a player in the Top rankings after just one season.

Note: Luke Schenn was a member of the 2007-08 Canadian World Junior Gold Winning Team.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Worst 5, 1st Round Picks from 1988-2008

1- Scott Pearson taken in the 1988 Draft, 6th Overall

Pearson played in 292 career NHL games with 63 in the blue and white. The Leafs expected alot more from Pearson taken so high in the draft and being taken ahead of a few future star NHL players was one by far the worst pick in the last 20 years.

Notable players taken just after Pearson: Jeremy Roenick, Teemu Selanne, Rob Brind'Amour

Note: Scott Pearson was traded along with the Leafs 2nd Round pick in 1991 (Eric Lavigne) to the Quebec Nordiques for Michel Petit, Aaron Broten and Lucien DeBlois.

2- Brandon Convery taken in the 1992 Draft, 8th Overall

Convery played all of 50 games for the Maple Leafs and 72 in his total NHL career. The Leafs expected more from an 8th Overall Pick. Convery spend most of his time in the AHL and Europe. Convery played more NHL games then only five out of the twenty-four first round picks that season.

Notable players taken just after Convery: Sergei Gonchar, Martin Straka, Jason Smith.

Note: Brandon Convery was traded to the Vancouver Canucks for Lonny Bohonos (March 7, 1998)

3- Steve Bancroft taken in the 1989 Draft, 21st Overall

Bancroft was part of the Belleville Three taken in the 1989 Draft by the Leafs in the 1st Round. Bancroft played a total of 6 NHL games which was more then three out of the twenty-one players taken in the draft and none with Toronto. Bancroft was a career AHL and IHL player.

Notable players taken just after Bancroft: Adam Foote, Kent Manderville, Travis Green

Note: Steve Bancroft was traded to the Boston Bruins for Rob Cimetta (November 9, 1990)

4- Luca Cereda taken in the 1999 Draft, 24th Overall

Cereda did not play an NHL game and was diagnosed with a heart condition early on his Leaf career but did finish off his career in the Swiss league. Cereda was tied with two others as the worst 1st Round pick in the draft at zero games played.

Notable players taken just after Cereda: Martin Havlat, Alexei Semenov

Note: Luca Cereda was released by the team.

5- Jeff Ware taken in the 1995 Draft, 15th Overall

Ware played a total of 21 NHL games, 15 in a Leafs uniform. Ware ended up playing most of his hockey in the AHL. Ware was the fifth worst 1st round pick out of twenty-six in the draft.

Notable players taken just after Ware: Martin Biron, Petr Sykora, Denis Gauthier

Note: Jeff Ware was traded to the Florida Panthers for David Nemirovsky (February 17, 2009)

Brian Burke will be looking to make his mark with the Leafs Friday night in Montreal, lets all hope that his pick will better then what we are usually accustomed to in Toronto over the last twenty drafts.


  1. I don't know about Cereda cracking the top five. He was a very promising pick coming off a great world junior performance, in fact he was named to the tournament's 1st team All-Star Team. It's a shame that a heart condition kept him from every playing in the NHL.

    I'd argue Eric Fichaud was a bigger bust than Cereda. A first round goalie who played all of 95 games with four different NHL teams.

    One guy never had a chance because of his health, the other because of lack of talent.

  2. I do agree with the Fichaud comments and he was on the bubble but Cereda failed to play an NHL game and after a medical procedure for the heart condition did go on to play four seasons in the Swiss league as no NHL team felt he was worth the risk, thats why he is considered a bad pick but an unfortunate situation never the less.

  3. What an excellent blog!As a born and bred life long Leafs fan I was cringing as I read this but it was so good.I write for several online publications mostly about goaltending and sometimes the Leafs tenders hits and misses.My grandfather was the first great Leafs goalie Lorne Chabot.I realize this is off topic but the one 1st rounder that got away is Tukka Rask for Andrew Raysoft.What the hell was Ferguson thinking!!!!????

    Keep up the great work and you now have a faithful follower.

    Donny Chabot