Today I look at the Toronto Maple Leafs top ten picks from 1990 until 1999.
Unlike like most of these lists, the players drafted in the 90s had lengthy tenures with the Leafs. With the Leafs run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1999 and in 2002, a lot of these players would at least take part in one of those runs.
Let’s take a look at the top ten.
10. Dmitri Mironov
Drafted: Eighth round (160th overall) in 1991
Mirinov jumped to the NHL almost immediately after being drafted, playing seven games in the 1991-92 season. He was with the team when the went to the Campbell Conference Finals in 1993 and 1994. After only four seasons with the Leafs, he was involved in a trade with Pittsburgh which netted the Leafs Larry Murphy.
He would only play two seasons with the Penguins before being dealt to the Anaheim Ducks. He spent just under two seasons with them before being traded to the Detroit Red Wings, oddly enough playing on the same team as the player the Leafs dealt him for in Murphy. He would finish his career with three seasons for the Washington Capitals.
Mironov played 556 games in the NHL, scoring 54 goals while adding 206 assists for 260 points.
9. Sergei Berezin
Drafted: Tenth round (256th overall) in 1994
Berezin was one of the more underrated goal scorers for the Leafs during his five-year tenure with the Leafs. He never scored less than 16 goals in a season with the Leafs, scoring more than 20 goals in four of the seasons. He eclipsed the 50-point mark twice with the Leafs.
Berezin was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Mikael Renberg in the off-season after the 2000-01 season. In the next two seasons, he would be traded three more times, playing for the Coyotes, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals. He left the NHL to play in Russia after the 2002-03 season, ending his career.
In 502 NHL games, Berezin scored 160 goals while adding 126 assists for a total of 286 points.
8. Yanic Perreault
Drafted: Third round (47th overall) in 1991
Perreault is one of the best face-off men in NHL history. He is also one of the rare players to have three different stints with the Maple Leafs. He spent his first three seasons with the Leafs organization with their farm team in St. John’s before playing 13 games for the Leafs in the 1993-94 season. He would be traded to the Los Angeles Kings the next off-season. He played parts of five seasons with the Kings, taking over as their top center after Wayne Gretzky was traded to St. Louis.
He was traded back to the Leafs late in the 1998-99 season, spending the rest of that season as well as two more with the Leafs. He signed with the Montreal Canadiens after the 2000-01 season, where he would play three seasons. His final three seasons would see him play for four different teams, the Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes, his third stint with Toronto before finishing his career with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Perreault played 859 games, scoring 247 goals and adding 269 assists for 516 points.
7. Fredrik Modin
Drafted: Third round (64th overall) in 1994
Modin continues the trend of these players playing for multiple teams in their last few seasons. Before that, he spent three seasons with the Leafs before being dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning. That is where he would have his biggest impact. He was an assist captain for multiple seasons, winning the Stanley Cup with the team in 2004.
He was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he would also serve as an assistant captain prior to the 2006-07 season. He would the split the final two seasons of his career with the Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, Atlanta Thrashers and the Calgary Flames before retiring in 2011.
Modin played 898 games in the NHL, scoring 232 goals while adding 230 assists for 462 points.
6. Daniil Markov
Drafted: Ninth round (223rd overall) in 1995
One of the toughest defensemen in recent Leafs history, Markov once got stitches below an eye during a game without anesthetic so he could keep playing. He was of the Leafs best defensive defensemen during his four-year tenure with the team. When they eventually traded him, they got Travis Green, Robert Reichel and Craig Mills from the Phoenix Coyotes for him.
After leaving the Leafs, he would bounce around the NHL, playing for five teams in six seasons. He spent two of them in Phoenix before splitting a seasons between the Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers. Philadelphia traded him to the Nashville Predators in 2005 off-season. He would spend one season there before playing his final NHL season with the Detroit Red Wings. He played in the KHL up until the 2013-14 season.
In 538 games, Markov scored 29 goals while adding 118 assists for 147 points.
5. Shawn Thornton
Drafted: Seventh round (190th overall) in 1997
Yeah, this one player that the Leafs should regret trading. The player on this list to still be playing in the NHL, Thornton was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks before he could ever play a game for the Leafs. Thornton played only 31 games for the Blackhawks over three seasons, although he was with the organization for five seasons.
He then signed with the Anaheim Ducks for the 2006-07 season, winning the Stanley Cup with the team, even though he spent just under half the season in the AHL. He would then join the Boston Bruins, winning another Stanley Cup in 2011. He currently plays with the Florida Panthers.
So far in his career, Thorton has scored 39 goals while adding 54 assists for 93 points in 605 NHL games.
4. Alexei Ponikarovsky
Drafted: Fourth round (87th overall) in 1998
Ponikarovsky played parts of nine seasons with the Maple Leafs. One of the longest-tenured recent Maple Leafs, “Poni” was a staple on the second line with Nikolai Antropov with the Leafs and was one of their top penalty-killers. During a reshaping of the Leafs lineup under John Ferguson Jr., Ponikarovsky was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins around the 2010 NHL Trade Deadline.
He finished the season with Pittsburgh and would then play one season with the Los Angeles Kings. He then signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes, but he was dealt to the New Jersey Devils. For the 2012-13 season, he signed with the Winnipeg Jets, reuniting him with Antropov. However, only 12 games into the lockout-shortened season, he was traded back to New Jersey. He then for the KHL, where he still plays.
Ponikarovsky played 678 games in the NHL, scoring 139 goals while adding 184 assists for 323 points.
3. Nikolai Antropov
Drafted: First round (10th overall) in 1998
Like Ponikarovsky, Antropov played parts of nine seasons with the Leafs. One of the more underrated power forward for the Leafs, he and Ponikarovsky were practically attached at the hip during their time with the Leafs. He was dealt to the New York Rangers for draft picks one year before the Leafs moved “Poni”.
He would finish the 2008-09 season with the Rangers before signing with the Atlanta Thrashers in the off-season. He spent four seasons with the organization, relocating with the team to Winnipeg in 2011. He scored the first goal in the new Jets history. He currently plays in the KHL.
Antropov played 788 NHL games, scoring 193 goals while adding 272 assists for a total of 465 points.
2. Felix Potvin
Drafted: Second round (31st overall) in 1990
One of the best Maple Leafs goalies in the past quarter of a century, Potvin is the the second best goalie the Leafs have ever drafted themselves. In his rookie season of 1992-93, he usurped Grant Fuhr as the starter and guided the Leafs to the Campbell Conference Finals. He was nominated for the Calder Trophy that season. In his second season, he once again got the Leafs to the final four.
He would play with the Leafs up until midway through the 1998-99 season when Curtis Joseph took over the job. He would go on to play for the New York Islanders, Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins. He never recapture the success he had with the Maple Leafs.
Potvin played 636 games in the NHL, winning 266 of them with a total of 32 shutouts.
1. Tomas Kaberle
Drafted: Eighth round (204th overall) in 1996
The Leafs rarely succeed in finding impactful NHL players in the NHL Draft. This is one time it worked out. Though he might be remembered for not accepting trades late in his tenure with the Leafs, his long tenure with the Leafs certainly helps him attain this position.
Kaberle played parts of 12 seasons with the Leafs. He is second in points from a defenseman in Leafs history, sitting only behind Borje Salming. After finally accepting a trade, he would win the Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins. He would go on to also play for the Carolina Hurricanes and the Montreal Canadiens. He attempted to make the New Jersey Devils prior to this season, but didn’t get a contract after his try-out.
Kaberle played 984 games, scoring 87 goals while adding 476 assists for a total of 563 points.