Essendon president Paul Brasher has spoken openly about how the 2020 departures of Adam Saad, Orazio Fantasia and Joe Daniher opened a new door at Tullamarine.

While the trio's defections from the Dons were seen as calamitous at the time, the losses led to the 16-time premiers landing what would eventually become picks 9, 10 and 29 at the 2020 AFL Draft.

Although the latter of these selections gained from Fantasia joining the Power was on-traded for the services of ex-Giant Jye Caldwell, the former pair saw Essendon pluck three kids within the draft's top-10.

Speaking to The AgeBrasher claimed that while the Bombers were desperate to retain the services of the two forwards and the dashing half-back, the mere fact that the club was able to add Nikolas Cox, Archie Perkins and Zach Reid alongside Caldwell was cause for celebration.

Essendon Bombers Media Opportunity & Training Session
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: Archie Perkins of the Bombers (C) in action during an Essendon Bombers AFL media opportunity at The Hangar on January 21, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

“What happened was that we lost them, they were good people and good players - you know, I’m not saying we wanted to lose any of them,” Brasher told Age journalist, Jake Niall.

“But what was beneficial to us was that it allowed us to pick up some young talent. So you get people like Perkins and Cox and Reid, [Harrison] Jones gets a chance - which in terms of building a side for the next premiership, that’s what you’re trying to do - that’s fantastic.

“So I think that allowed us to cushion any blow there might have been from losing those players.”

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With three key members of the club's best-22 walking out at the same time, Brasher delineated that the Dons gave their undivided focus to retaining the then out-of-contract Zach Merrett.

Still, despite his former teammates opting out and the complexion of Ben Rutten's list becoming considerably younger, Merrett signed on for six-years prior to the cessation of the 2021 season.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 12: Zach Merrett of the Bombers (left) shares a laugh with Orazio Fantasia of the Bombers (middle) during an Essendon Bombers AFL training session at the Essendon Football Club on April 12, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

In spite of the fact that list manager Adrian Dodoro and his team manage to avoid what could well have been a full-scale meltdown had the midfielder chosen to move on, Brasher described agreeing to terms with the now 26-year-old as a key milestone in the club's hunt for a 17th flag.

“He [Merrett] wanted to see that he was in a club that was serious about it and that had a realistic chance of developing into a successful club - that’s what he was looking for. And he got to the stage where he saw that," Brasher continued.

Irrespective of the fact that a concrete figure is not public knowledge, Saad, Fantasia and Daniher's respective journies to Princes Park, Alberton and the Gabba saw Essendon earn an exponential chunk of their salary cap back.

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And while cards are close to chests as to how these shekels may be spent, Essendon's previous interest in out-of-contract Sun Ben King is likely to be stoked again throughout this season.

Essendon are set to face St Kilda in their sole AAMI Community Series contest scheduled for Marvel Stadium on Saturday, March 5.

The foundation club's 150th season proper will commence a fortnight later when the Bombers do battle with the Cats at the MCG in Round 1.