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Rielly, Kadri and the summer of 1973--"The Vintage Leaf Memories Podcast" - Episode 10

I have to say that, for me as a sports observer and fan, when I have a serious rooting interest in a team, the annual draft (whether it be NFL, NHL, whatever) is one of the highlights of the year. And that’s the focus of my latest VLM podcast—how much fun it is to see our team draft and develop young players.

When you look at the current Leaf roster you see names like Kadri and Rielly who were pretty high first round picks.  And as I mention in the podcast, they are "ours" - we drafted them.  It’s great to see them playing so well so early in what will hopefully be long NHL (and Maple Leaf) careers.

Those examples got me thinking about Leaf drafts, which I realize have not always been stellar over the years in terms of actual outcomes.  (Hey, the Leafs have not always drafted horribly, but there have been a lot of ‘misses’ since the league introduced what was I think was then called the old “universal” amateur draft back in the late 1960s.)

In any event, on this show, I focus on one of the most special Leaf drafts of my lifetime:  the summer we had three picks in the first round, ways back in 1973.  Then General Manager Jim Gregory selected Lanny McDonald, Bob Neely and Ian Turnbull with those picks. (Turnbull, who wore number 2 in his time with the Leafs, is seen at right.) All were tremendously talented individuals, and each had varying degrees of success with the Leafs—and in their NHL careers.

If you’re interested, I invite you to sit back and listen now to Episode 10.

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