Top 10 Toronto Maple Leafs Draft Misses: 1980s Edition

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 16: Jon Casey #30 of the St. Louis Blues skates against Doug Gilmour #93 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the quarter finals of the1995-1996 NHL Playoffs at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 16: Jon Casey #30 of the St. Louis Blues skates against Doug Gilmour #93 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the quarter finals of the1995-1996 NHL Playoffs at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images) /
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KANATA, CANADA – APRIL 14: Alexander Mogilny #89 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
KANATA, CANADA – APRIL 14: Alexander Mogilny #89 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images) /

#8. Phil Housely (1982 NHL Entry Draft, 1st Round, 6th Overall)

Toronto’s Draft Pick: 1st Round, 3rd Overall (Gary Nylund)

The Toronto Maple Leafs must have loved the water in Portland because for the second year in a row, they decided to draft a defenseman from the Winter Hawks.

Nylund was a different type of defenseman than Benning, though. Although he was less offensively skilled, he was definitely tougher. Listed at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Nylund had 267 penalty minutes in his last year of junior hockey, which the Leafs must have fell in love with.

1980s hockey was tough and the Toronto Maple Leafs must have hoped that Nylund would help in that category. As they were focused on toughness, they missed out on the most skilled defenseman of the 1982 Draft Class.

Phil Housley was drafted three spots later by the Buffalo Sabres and went onto become one of the highest scoring defenseman in NHL history. Housley finished with 1232 points and played 1495 career games.

Although Housley finished his career as a Maple Leaf, the team missed a huge opportunity for him to start his career there when they selected Nylund instead in the first round of the 1982 NHL Entry Draft.

#7. Alex Mogilny (1988 NHL Entry Draft, 5th Round, 89th Overall)

Toronto’s Draft Pick: 5th Round, 86th Overall (Len Esau)

Mogilny was the steal of the 1988 NHL Entry Draft.

It makes sense that it took five rounds for Mogilny to be drafted because there were tensions about players leaving Russia to join the NHL in that time. Mogilny disappeared one night with the help of the Sabres to be able to join them in North America.

Similar to Fuhr and Housley, Mogilny would also eventually join Toronto later his career. However, it’s crazy to think how good the Leafs roster would have been with Mogilny in the early 1990s.

The Leafs were already led by Doug Gilmour, but with Mogilny’s talent, it’s possible that his help would have got them to a Stanley Cup Final. Mogilny scored 76 goals in the 1992-93 season, which was the first of two seasons that the Leafs made the Conference Finals.

Mogilny on a line with Gilmour could have been the most unstoppable duo in the NHL. Gilmour was one of the best players in the world during the Leafs stretch from 1992-1994, so paired up with Mogilny could have made him even more unstoppable.

Fortunately Leafs fans were able to see a great duo of Mogilny and Sundin later in his career, but if he were drafted to the team in 1988, a Stanley Cup could have been possible.