Leafs History: Leafs Top 10 Worst First Draft Picks Of The 1990's

Brad LeClair@beerad87Correspondent IAugust 14, 2010

Leafs History: Leafs Top 10 Worst First Draft Picks Of The 1990's

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    The Leafs, as many of you loyal Buds fans know, have not won a Stanley Cup in nearly 43 years...and counting.

    They've had some stellar teams since 1967, but haven't quite had the talent to make it to the Stanley Cup finals.

    Gone are the days of Darryl Sittler, Lanny MacDonald, and Borje Salming in the 1970's. How about the days of an early Wendel Clark, Rick Vaive and Russ Courtnall of the 1980's?

    Lastly, gone are the days of Dougie Gilmour, Mats Sundin, and Dave Andreychuk of the early and late 1990's.

    As you can tell, over the years the Leafs have had the top line talent to compete in for a championship, but when it all comes down to it, success is built from the draft.

    The New Jersey Devils, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers are great examples today of teams that draft well and are always in position to contend for championships.

10. 1998 Nik Antropov Taken 10th Overall

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    NHL Totals 603 GP 156 G 215 A 371 P 527 PIM

    When Nik Antropov was taken 10th overall, the selection sent shock waves throughout Leafs Nation. Why would the Leafs dare to draft a Kazakh? How would this 6'6 man's game translate to the NHL?

    Essentially, as bad as this sounds, Nik Antropov is the best of the worst. He's the class of the 1990's when it comes to drafting and not missing out on much after him. 

    Players still Available:

    Alex Tanguay

    Simon Gagne 

    Scott Gomez

    Andrei Markov

    Pavel Datsyuk (who was selected 171st overall if you can believe it)

9. 1993 Kenny Jonsson Taken 12th Overall

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    NHL Totals 686 GP 63 G 204 A 267 P 298 PIM

    Kenny Jonsson's NHL career was decimated by concussions. While he wasn't the toughest defender out there, he still managed to play a good two-way game.

    A fairly good offensive defenseman, Jonsson is better known for his disputes with former Leafs Captain and Team Sweden teammate Mats Sundin.

    Players Still Available

    Todd Bertuzzi

    Saku Koivu

    Eric Daze (another injury-prone player)

    Miroslav Satan

    Pavol Demitra

8. 1992 Brandon Convery Taken 8th Overall

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    NHL Totals 72 GP 9 G 19 A 28 P 36 PIM

    Convery never really had a chance to make it with the Leafs. He had a stellar junior career and even his career with the St. John's Maple Leafs was a very respectable, verging on star level with the Baby Buds on the Rock.

    Convery's size for the NHL at that time was not conducive to really making a mark in the NHL.

    I still believe if the 1992 draft was done in 2010, Convery could have been a force in the NHL.

    Players Still Available

    Sergei Gonchar

    Jason Smith

    Martin Straka

    Mike Peca

    Mattias Norstrom

    Kirk Maltby

    Craig Rivet

    Robert Svehla

    Jere Lehtinen

    Adrian Aucoin

    Nikolai Khabibulin

    Anson Carter

7. 1997 Traded Pick to NYI, 4th Overall

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    New York Islanders trade Wendel Clark and Mathieu Schneider to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Kenny Jonsson and Toronto's 1997 1st round pick (4th overall - Roberto Luongo).

    Now how did this move work out? Wendel Clark was nearing the end of his career and Mathieu Schnieder temporarily improved the defense, however the Leafs at the time were not close to anything (since they managed to trade the 4th overall selection), so trading for two older players when you're nearly out of it makes no sense to me.

    Even though no player was selected, this trade will go down as the second worst (in hindsight) made by the Leafs.

    Players There To Take If Pick Was Available

    Roberto Luongo (taken with the fourth selection)

    Marian Hossa

    Brendan Morrow

    Kristian Huselius

    Maxim Afinogenov

    Brian Campbell

    Not a very strong draft class after the first round or so.

6. 1999 Luca Cereda Taken 24th Overall

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    No NHL Stats

    Luca Cereda very easily could be a top 3 worst draft pick, but due to heart issues, he would never play an NHL game.

    At 6'2 and over 205 pounds, Cereda had all the potential in the world to be a serviceable player, but in the end, his heart got the best of him.

    Also, he was taken 24th overall, it wasn't as if the Leafs wasted a lottery pick on him.

    Players Still Available

    Martin Havlat

    Ryan Miller

    Henrik Zetterberg (taken 210th overall)

5. 1996 Marek Posmyk Taken 36th Overall

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    19 GP 1 G 2 A 3 P 20 PIM

    Another of a long list of terrible picks by the Leafs of the 1990's. Posmyk would play only a handful of games with the Tampa Bay Lightning and has not been seen on an NHL rink since.

    At 6'5" 220 pounds, he was yet another big defenseman the Leafs attempted to draft and failed miserably at.

    As I'm researching all these picks, it depresses me even more at how badly this team drafted.

    Players Still Available

    Zdeno Chara

    Tomas Kaberle (luckily taken by the Leafs)

    Pavel Kubina

    Colin White

    Tom Poti

    Aaron Asham

    Mark Parrish

    Toni Lydman

    Michal Roszival

    Sami Pahlsson

4. 1995 Jeff Ware Taken 15th Overall

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    21 GP 0 G 1 A 1 P 12 PIM

    Ware was another terrible pick by the Leafs. At the age of 33, Ware has not played pro hockey since a stint with the Syracuse Crunch in 2001-02. At 6'4 220" pounds, Ware was an intimidating presence coming out of junior, but his game never would translate to pro hockey.

    Players Still Available

    Petr Sykora

    Marc Savard

    Miikka Kiprusoff

    Filip Kuba

    Jochen Hecht

    Michal Handzus

    Chris Mason

    Stephane Robidas

3. 1994 Eric Fichaud Taken 16th Overall

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    Eric's goaltending was up and down, and at 5'11" 170 lbs, he would be one of the smallest goalies in the NHL.

    Fichaud would never be able to stick with any NHL team for an extended period of time.

    Fichaud in hindsight, was not a terrible first round pick because to be honest, the rest of the first round wasn't much better.

    But still, the list of players still left in the next rounds could blow your mind.

    Players Still Available

    Jose Theodore

    Patrik Elias

    Fredrik Modin

    Sheldon Souray

    Chris Drury

    Milan Hejduk

    Marty Turco

    Daniel Alfredsson

    Tim Thomas

    Evgeni Nabokov

    Tomas Vokoun

    Steve Sullivan

    Tomas Holmstrom

    Wayne Primeau (just for giggles, taken right after Fichaud)

2. 1990 Drake Berehowsky Taken 10th Overall

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    NHL Totals 549 GP 37 G 112 A 149 P 848 PIM

    Drake Berehowsky was another one of those questionable picks in a long line of bad picks by the Leafs.

    He was a terrible defenseman, but still managed to play 550 games in the NHL. How he did, I still don't have a clue.

    Players Still Available

    Keith Tkachuk

    Martin Brodeur

    Bryan Smolinski

    Dough Weight

    Geoff Sanderson

    Slava Kozlov

    Mikael Renberg

    Alexei Zhamnov

    Sergei Zubov

    Craig Conroy

    Robert Lang

    Peter Bondra

    Sergei Nemchinov

1. 1991 Traded First Round Pick To NJ For Tom Kurvers

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    This trade will easily go down as the worst deal in Leafs history. Kurvers actually had a decent campaign with the Leafs scoring 52 points that season, but in retrospect, he was still not worth a first-round pick, especially after the Leafs finished 28-48-6 the previous season.

    He recorded 66 points the season previous to that with the Devils, but in reality, the Leafs were not one offensive defenseman away from contention; they were at least 3-4 players away. 

    When Kurvers hit the scene, the Leafs finished with a respectable .500 record finishing 38-38-6.

    Players Who Were Available at Third Overall

    Scott Niedermayer

    Peter Forsberg

    Brian Rolston

    Alex Kovalev

    Markus Naslund

    Glen Murray

    Martin Rucinsky

    Ray Whitney

    Zigmund Palffy

    Steve Staios

    Sandis Ozolinsh

    Jozef Stumpel

    Michael Nylander

    Alexei Zhitnik

    Brian Savage

Honorable Mention: Landon Wilson Taken 19th Overall In 1993 Entry Draft

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    NHL Totals 375 GP 53 G 66 A 119 P 352 PIM

    I couldn't really put him in this list per se, since he wasn't a first choice by the Leafs, but he was a second first-round draft pick along with Grant Marshall who was drafted in 1992 (Convery draft).

    Wilson ended up with the worst of the two careers, so he garners the honorable mention here.