The Brian Burke Leafs era was not a great one, all things considered. 0 playoff series wins, 0 appearances, few memorable moments, and a lot of heartbreak.
But it’s been almost 10 years since Burke’s best decision as the head of the Leafs: drafting future 30-goal scorer and contributor to matchup nightmare: Nazem Kadri.
Picking ninth behind Toronto’s seventh was a familiar foe: Ottawa Senators, represented by then-GM Bryan Murray, the longtime face of the Sens’ front office.
If you skip to the 2:00 in the linked video (unfortunately it doesn’t embed), you can hear a fantastic convo about the fact the Senators wanted Kadri.
The Senators ended up selecting Jared Cowen, who would later come to Toronto via the “Dion Phaneuf” trade. Toronto did not play him at the NHL level, or the AHL level, before subsequently buying him out.
Nazem Kadri has since scored 145 goals in the NHL, all of which have been for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Jared Cowen does have 175 penalty minutes however, so it’s almost equal, all things considered. He hasn’t played a game of hockey since 2016. Nazem Kadri has back-to-back 30 goal seasons. Hrm.
Also, rest in peace Bryan Murray. You were a fierce competitor, and you are missed.