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Burke Has To Make The Right Decisions

from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,

Of all of the uncertainties that are bound to spill out of the National Hockey League draft in Pittsburgh this weekend, there are a couple of storylines that might have a little more solidity.

One, if Rick Nash finally is traded by the Columbus Blue Jackets, it’s unlikely that it will be to the Maple Leafs.

Two, Leafs general manager Brian Burke is entering the most crucial time of his tenure in Toronto, one during which he has to be just about perfect in every move he makes.

If the Leafs don’t make the playoffs in 2013, and let’s assume for now that the 2012-13 season will go off without a hitch, possible work stoppage be damned, Burke should be done as Toronto’s general manager. By next April, he will have had more than enough time to reshape, rebuild, retool the Leafs, whatever word might apply. In fact, he already has reshaped the Leafs, but has not constructed a team that is good enough to win.

So Burke, who has been blasting away at the Leafs roster since November 2008, has no choice but to get it right as soon as he can, beginning with any trade he might pull off this week.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink



83, 81, 74, 85, 80 points in the regular season.  0-0 in the playoffs.  No scoring depth.  No depth on the blue line.  No solidified #1 goalie.  No steady coach.

Other than not having any draft picks, I don’t see how the Leafs are any better today than they were before Burke got there, while the team he just left he left in a shambles.

It seems pretty obvious Burke’s just lost his fastball as a GM, and it’s not like he was cracking 95 on the gun in the first place.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/19/12 at 12:23 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

The title of this post alone ought to let everyone know that Toronto is fuched.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 06/19/12 at 12:27 PM ET


It seems pretty obvious Burke’s just lost his fastball as a GM

He was throwing junk even when he was “good”.  He absolutely lucked into that Stanley Cup-winning roster.  What’s the last really good move he made on his own, without the benefit of having a defenseman who demanded to be traded or a future Hall of Famer who wanted to play with his brother or another future Hall of Famer who decided he wanted to end his career in Anaheim?

Posted by Garth on 06/19/12 at 12:29 PM ET

BrendonTO's avatar

Burke came into a team with zero value in its ranks, and has turned it into one with a future.  The Leafs are now the second or third youngest team in the NHL, likely to be the youngest next year.  He has taken a barren prospects system and filled it to the brim.  A Marlies team almost entirely built by Burke and his team made it to the AHL finals this year only to lose to what was arguably one of the best professional hockey teams of all time, including one game on a goal that should have never counted. 

The Leafs had zero, and I mean zero talent up front and now have real studs like Kessel and Lupul.  He managed to take a bunch of garbage players and turn them into Phanuef and Keith Aulie.  Then he managed to dump both the Blake and Toskala contracts (widely thought to be absolutely unmovable) for a Conn Smythe-winning goalie who provided excellent mentorship to the Leafs young goaltending group.  FInally, he traded Beauchemin away (and yes he did sign him) and managed to get both Jake Gardiner and Lupul in return….truly one of the greatest trades of the past 5 years or more.  To say he got lucky on either of them is ridiculous as he drafted Gardiner and had Lupul on his team in Anaheim, so he knew what he was getting.  He also traded Kaberle, who was leaving anyways, and managed to get both Joe Colborne and a first-rounder in return.  People criticize the Kessel trade, but he was trading 2 first rounders that could have been mid-rounders, for a proven 21yr old who had just scored 36 goals in the NHL and continued that production in his brief time in the playoffs.  He has made major flops in FA signings (Komaserik, Connolly, etc.) but those haven’t had a huge negative impact on the team or its development.

This is a young team that has shown flashes of excellence but lacks the one thing that all young teams lack: consistency.  This is not the NYI who always draft in the Top 5 but make no progression.  The Leafs are on the cusp of being very good for a long time.

Seriously, anyone who thinks Burke has done a bad job doesn’t know what they’re talking about.  You guys must be starting to drink the Steve Simmons kool-aid or something.  For those of us actually paying close attention, this team has been completely refreshed, in a good way, since the dreaded JFJ days, despite their lack of making the playoffs.

Posted by BrendonTO on 06/19/12 at 03:10 PM ET


Well, they’ve got more young players than when JFJ was running things.

Where’s that GM of the year award?

Posted by Garth on 06/19/12 at 03:41 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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