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Entries with the tag: burke
I heard a caller on the radio the other day talk about the effect the Phil Kessel trade has had on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Most people think that the trade was a disaster for the Leafs, but I was a proponent of the trade when it first happened. However, I did not think Brian Burke needed to give up 2 first round picks to get Kessel because he had the threat of the offer sheet and only needed to give up a first, second, and third round pick if he were to go that route (I know Burke lashed out at Kevin Lowe for the Dustin Penner offer sheet, but the biggest issue he had with Lowe was that he didn’t approach him first about a deal; he felt blind sided). That being said, I do not want to sit here and discuss how good or bad that deal was. Back to the caller, he made what I thought to be a great point, he essentially said that if Burke did not make the Kessel trade, some of the other deals he made later in the year probably would not have happened since the Leafs would have most likely been tanking the season and playing for Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin. So to judge Burke solely on the Kessel trade would not be fair. You need to look at the effect of that trade on the other moves he has made and I tend to agree with him. Thus, the Leafs most likely would not have made the Phaneuf or Giguere trades, which essentially brought the Leafs their young captain and also ridded them of bad contracts (Blake, and I would argue Stajan, and White as well).
The Toronto Maple Leafs ended last season with a 10-5-3 record after the Olympic break, giving them the fourth best record in the Eastern Conference for that time period. Many people consider this garbage time, when the games don’t matter, but the team put up this record playing against teams whose games meant a hell of a lot. Now I do not think the Leafs will finish in the top 4 of the Eastern Conference based on these results, however, with the additions of Versteeg, Armstrong, Lebda, and a healthy Komisarek, this team should be able to obtain a playoff spot. Anything less than a playoff spot should be considered a failure. This may seem like a lofty goal for a team that finished second to last overall last year, but Burke has made moves to make this team better immediately, not five years from now.
Looking at the Leafs roster they are set in between the pipes this year with Gustavsson and Giguere sharing the duties ($7.35M cap hit for the pair). This tandem ended the season well and Gustavsson was much better down the stretch compared to early in the season. On the blue line the Leafs have a log jam with 8 NHL defensemen ($25.5M cap hit) on the roster. Up front the Leafs have some holes to fill. They currently have 10 (Bozak, Kessel, Kulemin, Versteeg, Armstrong, Grabovski, Sjostrom, Brown, Orr, Mitchell) roster spots filled ($20.6M cap hit). Overall the Leafs have committed approximately $53.5M in salaries, along with another $2.4M in buyout and carryover penalties, and another $0.665M in bonus allowance overages. That gives them a total cap hit of $56.55M, leaving the Leafs with $2.85M in space to work with to add 3 roster players (minimum roster size is 18 skaters and 2 goalies, maximum roster size is 23 players).
According to Pittsburgh Insider William Depaoli, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been scouting the Toronto Maple Leafs in the past month. Head scout Derek Clancey has been seen at Air Canada Centre many times with winger Alexei Ponikarovsky being a player of interest for the Penguins.
Alexei Ponikarovsky (Getty images)
Ponikarovsky, 29, is a big winger (6′4”, 220 lb) with great hands that has 15 goals and 14 assists for 29 points in 48 games with the Maple Leafs this season. Poni is in the final year of his contract that pays him $2.5 million this season; his cap hit is $2.1 million.
The Kiev-native had a career-year last season in Toronto, recording 23 goals and 38 assists for 61 points in 82 games. He would surely complement well Evgeni Malkin on the Penguins’ second line who is forced to play with pluggers Maxime Talbot and Ruslan Fedotenko. Talbot only has five points in 25 games this season, while Fedotenko only has 16 points in 47 games this year.
The Penguins also need help on the power play; as of today their power play ranks 29th in the league with a dismal 14.8% efficiency. You have to wonder what’s wrong in Steel Town when you have talented players like Sidney Crosby, Sergei Gonchar, Evgeni Malkin, Bill Guerin and Alex Goligoski on your first unit. With his large frame, quick hands and great vision, Ponikarovsky would certainly help the Penguins in that department.
Ponikarovsky, a fourth round (87th overall) pick of the Leafs at the 1998 NHL entry draft, has spent his entire career as a member of the Maple Leafs.
Does Brian Burke envision him as a core player of the Leafs’ future success or does he use him as a trade-bait to get back some of the high draft picks he traded to acquire budding star Phil Kessel from the Boston Bruins before the start of the current season?
During Saturday’s press conference to the Toronto media, Brian Burke all but confirmed that the Leafs are officially out of the Sundin sweepstakes. “I don’t think we fit his profile as a team,” said Burke. He referred to the 2-year $20 million offer from the Vancouver Canucks, putting the emphasis on the fact that Sundin’s comeback is not about money, but about playing for a contender.
Therefore, if Burke is not looking to add Sundin to his team, this means he will likely try to unload some veterans.
Look for Burke to start moving players in January as he will study his team in the next few weeks to see which players fit his style of players: physical, gritty, tough, hardworker, reliable defensively, etc.
Goaltenders: Curtis Joseph is having a tough season, posting a 3.95 GAA and a woeful .861 save percentage. He hasn’t won any game yet for the Leafs. The veteran goaltender might be asked to hang his skates to give some seasoning to Justin Pogge, the Leafs’ goaltender of the future.
I just saw come across the yahoo wire:
Burke crowned ‘Dancing With the Stars’ queen
Did the Toronto GM job fall through?