Toronto Maple Leafs: 25 Years of Draft Disasters

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Apr 11, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; The Toronto Maple Leafs logo on the offices of the Air Canada Centre before the final game of the season against the Montreal Canadiens at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

1. Brandon Convery- Center
Sudbury Wolves- Ontario Hockey League
First Round- 8th Overall- 1992

They passed on- Sergei Gonchar, Jason Smith, Valeri Bure, Mike Peca, Darren McCarty, Kirk Maltby, Mathew Barnaby, Jere Lehtinen, Adrian Aucoin, Anson Carter, Nikolai Khabibulin

Cliff Fletcher’s first draft with the Maple Leafs was an interesting one to say the least. The Leafs were coming off a disappointing 67-point season and Fletcher had been busy shaping his new team. After being on the job less than a year, “Trader Cliff” as he had come to be known as, had assembled a team of veterans that would eventually make it to the Western Conference Finals in two straight seasons.

Approached on draft day by New York Islanders general manager Bill Torrey, Fletcher was offered the #8 and #32 picks in the draft for his #5. Fletcher accepted the trade and took Brandon Convery, a high-scoring center from the Sudbury Wolves in the Ontario Hockey League. Every now and then, a player comes along that tears the American Hockey League to shreds but for some reason that talent never translates to the NHL level. Brandon Convery is that player.

From 1993 to 1998, Convery played 210 games with the AHL’s St. John’s Maple Leafs scoring 97 goals and 110 assists for 207 points. In that same time span, he appeared in 50 NHL games for the Leafs scoring just 7 goals and 10 assists. I couldn’t possibly call this entry complete without telling you who the Islanders took with the pick acquired from the Leafs.

That would be hard-hitting defenceman Darius Kasparaitis, who went on to play 14 seasons in the NHL. Ask any Leaf fan over the age of 35 who the biggest disappointing Leaf draft pick is and the conversation is likely to start with Brandon Convery, who now works as a “High Performance Sports Mentor.”

So there you have it: 25 years of Toronto Maple Leafs Draft Disasters. Got one to add? I’d love to hear it in the comments or hit me up on twitter @robb_ellis

Next: Leafs Third Round Target

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