The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons questions whether the Blackhawks are a classic sports dynasty, he discusses the Leafs' desire to essentially salvage the players who haven't been completely poisoned by the concept of playing hockey in Toronto (Phil Kessel is not one of those players in Simmons' eyes), and he offers the following words of warning:
When Glen Sather was talking trade with Montreal in the deal that eventually sent Scott Gomez to the Canadiens, his assistant Jeff Gorton, was clear about New York’s needs: Make sure, he told Sather, that Ryan McDonagh is included in the transaction.
Sather had heard the name McDonagh, but had never seen him play. He listened to his assistant and moved accordingly.
When Brian Burke was talking trade with the Blue Jackets in a deal that sent Sergei Fedorov to Columbus, his assistant Bob Murray had a word of advice. “Don’t make the trade without Francois Beauchemin.”
Burke’s response: “Who the hell is Francois Beauchemin?”
He made the trade and Columbus included Beauchemin in the deal.
Why does this matter now? It matters as the Maple Leafs get ready to remake their roster. They don’t have a general manager. They don’t have a pro scout of any reputation. They may have capable junior hockey operators: But they don’t have people who know the NHL and the AHL and all levels of hockey inside and out.
When the time comes to make a deal next week and they need a [Jeff] Gorton or a [Tim] Murray whispering in a general manager’s ear, who will do the whispering? They don’t have a GM and they don’t have a Gorton or a Murray type. Of all that Brendan Shanahan has done, his lack of NHL experience and pro scouting acumen may come back to haunt him.