Brian Burke’s ’99 NHL draft deal steal still appreciated by Canucks star Henrik Sedin (with video)
Then-Vancouver GM brought Swedish twins to West Coast with second and third picks overall
Newly signed Vancouver Canucks Daniel Sedin (left) and his twin brother Henrik with Canucks GM Brian Burke during a news conference in Vancouver on July 27, 1999, a month after the Swedes were picked by Burke second and third overall, respectively, in that summer's draft.
Photograph by: Nick Procaylo, PNG files
VANCOUVER — It's been a while now, going on 14 years actually, since Brian Burke pulled off his draft-day coup that saw him net both Daniel and Henrik Sedin for the Vancouver Canucks.
The twins are destined to become the two greatest scorers in Canucks history and Henrik was quick to note Wednesday that it wouldn't have happened without Burke's dealing.
Burke was eventually fired by the Canucks in 2004, then moved to Anaheim and won a Stanley Cup there before taking over the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2008. In a stunning development Wednesday, the bombastic Burke was dismissed by the Leafs.
“Yeah, of course, we have to thank him for drafting us,” Henrik said. “I mean, he was the one who pulled it off. We didn't think it was going to happen and for him to do that and believe in us. We don't know what would have happened otherwise so we're really pleased we are where we are.”
Henrik recalled that Burke remained a fan of the twins even though their early years with the team were hardly all-star stuff. Henrik never had more than 42 points in four seasons under Burke while Daniel reached 54 points in 2003-04 after three mediocre campaigns with 34, 32 and 31 points.
“He was always great to us,” Henrik emphasized. “He had patience with us and I think a lot of GMs maybe would have pulled the trigger earlier and maybe we would have been somewhere else. Brian was always supportive and that's something we should be thankful for.”
Henrik also played for Dave Nonis, the new Leafs GM, who was Burke's successor in Vancouver. Nonis was himself fired in 2008 and replaced by Mike Gillis.
“I think Dave Nonis and Burkie are very similar in the way they want to build their teams but they have different personalities,” commented Henrik, understating the case somewhat. “I mean, Nonis is really low key and very soft-spoken while Burkie maybe likes to be in the spotlight a little bit more. So I think that's the biggest difference.”
Burke, 57, was definitely in the spotlight Wednesday, but for all the wrong reasons.
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