Nothing was going to stop former Vancouver Canucks GM Brian Burke from leaving the 1999 NHL Draft with both Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
Burke has credited former player and current scout Thomas Gradin for pushing for the Sedins, two players he watched play in Sweden. But liking the players was not enough. Burke needed to do some creative manoeuvring to get them both.
Burke knew that Atlanta, who had the second overall pick, wanted Patrik Stefan. But if Tampa Bay, who had the first pick, selected a Sedin, the plan would fall apart.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) February 13, 2020
The Canucks had the third overall pick, but a flurry of trades by Burke allowed him to draft both Sedins. It began the night before the draft in Boston, with Burke completing a deal with Chicago for the fourth overall pick.
- Bryan McCabe and a 2000 first-round pick to Chicago for the fourth overall pick
- Flip fourth overall pick plus two third-round picks to Tampa Bay for the first overall pick
- Flip the first overall pick to Atlanta for second overall pick and 2000 third-round pick
The result was the Atlanta Thrashers foolishly picking Stefan first overall, leaving Daniel and Henrik Sedin to be picked second and third overall by Vancouver.
Clearly that took a lot of work from Burke, who apparently had to leave his own daughter’s birthday to make it happen.
Katie Burke spilled the beans in this hilarious tweet:
Fun fact: my dad left our birthday celebrations to make this trade and at the time I said something like “how will you remember this decision.” Fondly, it turns out. Hall of fame return on investment. https://t.co/C9ZAzK9DrS
— Katie Burke (@katieburkie) February 13, 2020
Here’s the rebuttal from her dad:
The Sedins played 2600 NHL games and never complained. My kids, on the other hand… https://t.co/vMbjT7EyyK
— Brian Burke (@Burkie2020) February 13, 2020
And the knockout blow from his other daughter Molly:
— Molly Burke (@mollysburke) February 13, 2020
However it happened, Canucks fans are eternally grateful for it. Henrik and Daniel Sedin went on to become the best players in franchise history, each scoring over 1,000 points.
The other two highly rated players in that draft were Patrik Stefan, who went on to score 188 NHL points, and Pavel Brendl, who scored just 22 points.
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