In 1989, Brian Burke was the Vancouver Canucks director of hockey operations. He was the right-hand man to Pat Quinn, the President and General Manager of the Canucks.
Quinn wanted to select Pavel Bure with the team’s sixth round pick, 113th overall pick, but Burke didn’t think he was worth taking a risk on.
And, he added, at the draft table that day, Brian Burke — who was Quinn’s right-hand man at the time — didn’t think Bure was worth the pick, having seen him play at the world juniors that year. The now-Flames head’s feeling back then was that Bure was too small to play at a high level in the NHL and wasn’t worth the gambled pick.
While today, it would be a no-brainer for a team to use their sixth round pick to take a gamble. In 1989, there were 12 rounds and 252 picks in the draft. The sixth round pick was what we would refer to as a ‘mid-round pick’ by today’s standards.
So it’s not entirely crazy that Burke wasn’t willing to take a flyer on an unknown Soviet prospect. Good thing Quinn was the one that had the final say, I suppose?