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What will Burke do?

SPORTSNET.CA: Mike Brophy reports Toronto Maple Leafs fans are getting impatient waiting for GM Brian Burke to land a true first line center and a veteran goaltender this summer, suggesting Burke will have to “get creative” to address those needs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To be fair to Burke, it’s not for lack of trying on his part. Trouble is, there simply weren’t any first line centers available in this summer’s trade and free agent markets,  Martin Brodeur wanted to finish his career with the Devils, the Canucks want to pry a couple of the Leafs most promising young players away from him in exchange for Roberto Luongo, and there simply isn’t any other viable goalie options right now. I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of Burke “getting creative” via the trade market, but Leaf fans should probably prepare to see James van Riemsdyk opening the season centering their first line, with James Reimer and Ben Scrivens as their goalie tandem.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: The Canucks have avoided arbitraiton with right wing Dale Wiese, re-signing him to a one-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: CapGeek reports it’s a one-way deal worth $615 K.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed forward Stephane Da Costa to a one-year, two-way contract.

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22 Responses to NHL Canadian Corner – July 26, 2012.

  1. BeerGoggles says:

    @Keith bang on buddy.

    You can also add: he trashed the Oilers for making an offer sheet so he can’t compete there, he trashed long term contracts so he can’t participate in that market, he has an abismal record at signing free agents (Connelly, Komi, ect). Burke is good at one thing, letting guys properly develop in the minors. Other than that I think he has pretty much failed at everything else. His trading record is 50/50 so no better then other decent GM’s, his big mouth alienates him from participating in certain trades with GM’s who hate him, UFA’s, RFA,s and long term contracts. He has handcuffed this franchise and the Leaf’s will be stuck in the bottom 20 as long as he is incharge.

  2. Sean says:

    Coming from a Leafs fan and a big Brian Burke fan, I can say there is no defending him this summer. Although I think he is the best guy for the job in this city, I think if he doesnt land a goalie or first line center this summer, the team has to drop him when they miss the playoffs. It’s not like Burke has had since the start of summer to land a goalie and a top line center–he’s had his entire tenure here to address those needs as the team needed a center for Phil Kessel and a goalie when he was hired.

  3. BCLeafFan says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing a healthy James Reimer in net this year – sometimes the answer is in your own back yard. The same could apply to the first-line centre spot. And, while I’m blueskying here, the Leafs have a competent NHL head coach now, something that couldn’t be said with his predecessor.

  4. Ranzeir says:

    An open question to the Leaf fan’s and others who post here: in your opinion what’s a reasonable or realistic amount of time for a GM to do a re-build? I know some teams are in worse shape than others however with the league’s current parity there doesn’t appear to be huge differences in talent compared to the way it used to be.

    • Icebear says:

      I think 3-4 years should at least show lots of promise.

      Burke cannot evaluate talent very well anymore and has done an abysmal job of the leafs, I’d laugh at you leaf fans more if I wasn’t starting to feel sorry for you and the situation that he has got your team into.

      I hope your next gm is competent.

      • RonMoore says:

        Lol 3-4 years? In what universe would that happen…try min 5years before you see anything worth while.

  5. Old Soldier says:

    Ranzier, as an Oiler fan I might not be completely objective here. I think it first depends on how you start the rebuild. There is the “scorched earth” policy that the Oilers used, guaranteeing them a poor showing for a couple years but giving them tons of picks and prospects during that time. The guesswork here is trusting in your scouts and hopefully the patience of the fans.

    There is the “wait til they drop” method that the Flames seem to be using. Refusing to trade veterans for prospects and preferring to add fringe players and very slowly build up some youth and depth in the system. The advantage here is the team is semi-competitive during the process, which at the same time is the downfall if they dont make the playoffs (average draft picks).

    Then there is the “combo-pack” method used by Ottawa. Keep a very few select veterans as your core, trade the rest for picks and prospects, while filling holes with “B” free agents on short term deals. The plus in this system is if the picks and prospects can be an influence, you can have some success early in the rebuild. The downside is having a split lineup, with half your skill players in the 30+ range and the other half in 25 and under range. Will the younger players be able to hold the weight without the vets down the road.

    Given results, its hard to argue against Ottawa. But if Karlsson didnt have come out of nowhere, they would have been a fringe team, where they were expected to be. The worst option to me is the Flames. It’s a very nice image to say that Iggy and Kipper will retire Flames, but your own team history has shown that to get Iggy you had to move Niewendyk. And this process will only work if you have players standing in line waiting to replace them. As it is, they have one “A” prospect in Baerstchi, then nothing but pluggers (and before Flames fans protest, check out Hockey Futures for an objective look at your prospects).

    The Oilers method is a tough one, one I think could only happen in a market that is patient enough to wait for the results, and knowledgable enough to understand the process. The upside is the excitement of watching young players building their careers together.

  6. Old Soldier says:

    LOL, and for all that I forgot to answer your question. Well the Ottawa experiment worked immediately, with them in the playoffs within 2 years of beginning the rebuild.

    The Flames experiment will have them competitive but realistically right back in the 8-12 range. And if the program doesnt change, that is where they will be for the foreseeable future.

    The Oilers experiment has been a 3 year process (begun in mid season 2009/2010) and trying my best to be objective, they should be competing for a playoff spot next season. And its not unreasonable to expect them to be cup contenders in 3 years or so.

    • ranzeir says:

      Old Soldier, your posts are always well thought out. My reason for asking is that there seems to be a clear split between Toronto Maple Leaf fan’s who post on this site and others constantly about this. There are those who argue that Burke’s on the right track and continued patience by the fan’s and ownership should continue while others complain that there doesn’t appear to be much progress being made and BB’s had more than enough time to turn things around. To complicate things further: how do people define progress and how are expectations created?
      As to your comments on Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton, I agree for the most part. If Calgary makes the playoff’s this season would this be considered a success? I mistakenly thought that Edmonton last season would be much better than they were, how many more years will the Edmonton fan’s be remain patient? Like most people Ottawa surprised me with their improved team game last season. If they fall short of a playoff spot this season is that regression or just part of the re-building process?
      Way to much for my small brain!

  7. Mdz says:

    I don’t see the need to address the top line at all. Bozak did a decent job and the Leafs first line wasn’t the reason for a failed season. Secondary scoring was the glaring issue, with the 2nd and 3rd line producing minimal results.
    JVR should be kept on his regular position as a 2nd line winger. Kadri to me seems like the most skilled leaf atm, with the sickest hands, whether he can gain consistency in his game is a different isuue. He is a natural centre and I would try him in the first slot before jamming JVR in there.

  8. jrd18 says:

    The leafs as is need to use their young players. Kadri needs to be given a chance this year. Let him try to prove himself if he fails move on at least you’ll know. Frattin was signed to a one way so he will be either 2nd or 3rd line. I am not sure where colborne will fit in since leafs have to many centers. I think ashton is going to be a good 2nd or 3rd line guy too from the little I watched last year he was good on the boards and had some speed. If I were burke or carlyle this year would be a everyone on equal grounds and if your an overpaid vet like connolly and a younger player out preforms you your gone. Burke has admitted to a couple mistakes in the past with versteeg and beuchiman.

  9. BeerGoggles says:

    The Leafs are riddled with 2nd, and 4th line guys other then Kessel, Lupul and JVR none of which are a center. It could also be argued that Lupul, Kessel and JVR are second line guys on a good club. At the end of the day the Leaf’s are missing 3rd line grinders/ shut down guys, a big tough top line center and a vet goalie. If Burke can’t address most of these issues (looks like he can’t) we are in for a long season and probably 3 more years of mediocrity.

    We shall see…

  10. Jay says:

    The Leafs need a big number one center and a number 1 goalie in their system…The draft defense man Morgan Reilly…As good as Reilly may be, they skipped on a lot of future forward/goal tending talent to add ANOTHER blue liner…

    Great job, Burkie..

  11. graham gordon says:

    Rebuilding an anemic Canadian NHL franchise requires the GM to design and implement a series of overlapping three to five year plans based on the entry draft. Brian Burke lacks both the patience and foresight to design and implement such plans. His ego will continue to drive him to look for quick fix trades like Kessel. Don’t expect to see the Leafs in the playoffs until after Brian is gone.

  12. BeerGoggles says:

    @RONMOORE RE:yesterdays post
    I agree with some of your points on Burke but not all. We could debate this to death but there probably isn’t much point. I am only blaming Burke because HE decided to up the ante and try to take a short cut when he traded for Kessel. The Leafs were clearly headed for the basement and drafting in the top 3 but Burke decided at that time he was boy wonder and was going to trade away a top draft pick in one of the best up and coming draft years to get a very small, non-aggressive, winger to build the team around.

    The problem is Burke’s big mouth. He comes into Toronto and says we will rebuild this team and get rid of the blue and white disease, we will get bigger and stronger with more testosterone, truculence, blah, blah, blah they he goes out and tries to build the franchise around Kessel who fits none of these attributes while trading away a future top 3 draftee (ie Seguin) who also happens to be a center. In a league where star centerman are a commodity why go out and gamble the farm and lose out on either one of the Tyler’s. Yes Kessel is an unbelievable player and goal whore but he is not the type of player you build your team around. I could go on and on but the bottom line is Burke opens his big mouth time and time again and can’t deliver.
    Just think back when he said he was going to try and get Tavares??? Come on already, why say stupid stuff like this to the fan base… Just like saying
    1. you are going to build a team full of testosterone and truculence,
    2. you will not participate in long term contracts, even though every other team is willing to
    3. you will not present offer sheets and any GM that does is scum,
    4. you are going after Tavares,
    5. Schenn isn’t going to be traded,
    6. you would have taken Rielly at number one this year if you had the first pick overall
    7. Re-signing Wilson for another year contract as the team blows up.
    8. Re-signing Lyles to a long term deal while he’s out with a concussion
    There are a billion more statements and dumb moves from Burke but there isn’t enough room on this blog. Burke has made one crafty trade and fleeced Bob Murray for Lupul and Gardiner but if you ask Alforducks it’s pretty obvious a monkey could have fleeced Murray.

    This comment has been moved to the appropriate post by an admin

  13. BeerGoggles says:

    @RONMOORE RE:yesterdays post
    I agree with some of your points on Burke but not all. We could debate this to death but there probably isn’t much point. I am only blaming Burke because HE decided to up the ante and try to take a short cut when he traded for Kessel. The Leafs were clearly headed for the basement and drafting in the top 3 but Burke decided at that time he was boy wonder and was going to trade away a top draft pick in one of the best up and coming draft years to get a very small, non-aggressive, winger to build the team around.

    The problem is Burke’s big mouth. He comes into Toronto and says we will rebuild this team and get rid of the blue and white disease, we will get bigger and stronger with more testosterone, truculence, blah, blah, blah they he goes out and tries to build the franchise around Kessel who fits none of these attributes while trading away a future top 3 draftee (ie Seguin) who also happens to be a center. In a league where star centerman are a commodity why go out and gamble the farm and lose out on either one of the Tyler’s. Yes Kessel is an unbelievable player and goal whore but he is not the type of player you build your team around. I could go on and on but the bottom line is Burke opens his big mouth time and time again and can’t deliver.
    Just think back when he said he was going to try and get Tavares??? Come on already, why say stupid stuff like this to the fan base… Just like saying
    1. you are going to build a team full of testosterone and truculence,
    2. you will not participate in long term contracts, even though every other team is willing to
    3. you will not present offer sheets and any GM that does is scum,
    4. you are going after Tavares,
    5. Schenn isn’t going to be traded,
    6. you would have taken Rielly at number one this year if you had the first pick overall
    7. Re-signing Wilson for another year contract as the team blows up.
    8. Re-signing Lyles to a long term deal while he’s out with a concussion
    There are a billion more statements and dumb moves from Burke but there isn’t enough room on this blog. Burke has made one crafty trade and fleeced Bob Murray for Lupul and Gardiner but if you ask Alforducks it’s pretty obvious a monkey could have fleeced Murray.

    This comment has been moved to the appropriate post by an admin

    • RonMoore says:

      Keith, you have no idea. If BG agrees with you then you’re probably dead wrong. The thing is and what is obviously being missed here with the public and the dumb MSM in Toronto is that this team is still in a rebuild. People must be really dumb to think that just over 3 yrs is enough time to put together a contender from what was the Leafs when he arrived.

      Yes it is true and maybe a mistake of Burke to have said he was going to TRY to fast track this by retooling when he should of said we are going to scrap everything, tear it all down and rebuild from scratch but I guess the reason for that is somewhat has to do with the prices of tickets, sales of said tickets and the obligation to keep those season ticket holders happy. As well as the obvious truth that both dumb fans and media would not have the patience to wait for a proper rebuild of this team.

      So to the “fans” that think they know better than Burke, I would like to know who or what you would do since you think you’re smarter or know better than him. Like who would you trade for or sign or would of done from day one? If you don’t think you’re the person then who would you want as the GM if not Burke? I am in not way saying he is perfect or doing a perfect job but considering what he started with its amazing we aren’t further back than we are. There are only two guys left, both only have played under 300 games in the NHL, from when he first arrived here so this is his team now… Let’s see what we have here in a year or two before you start up with pitchforks and torches.

      • BeerGoggles says:

        First thing I WOULDN’T have done is trade away two first round draft picks for Kessel. I said it at the time and I have always stuck to my guns. That was one trade that ruined the (Edmonton/ Pits type) rebuild.

        Ask any Leaf fan if they could trade the entire Leaf line up for the Oilers line up would they do it? The Leaf’s could easily have a similar line up had Burke not thought he could outsmart all the other GM’s and fast track things.

        • RonMoore says:

          I guess you think those two picks would make then team better now? I’m not a fan of trading away two picks for a player but the one player we got is one hell of a player. Maybe you’re one of those people that think Kessel who is turning 24 is not that good. Maybe you think a Rick Nash would be better, lol.

        • RonMoore says:

          Also since you mentioned Edmonton, how many cups did they win from this rebuild that’s been going on since when again? Ok Edmonton isn’t a fair example how about florida or washington or Nashville, Columbus, etc… I think the point is, there is no only way to build a winner… Look at LA, they build through the draft for years then made some smart trades plus free agents to make them winners. Philly for years has been building in an unorthodox way but the other day you were praising Homer.
          The bottom line is Burke, given what he was handed when he came here, and the short time he had to turn this shit storm around, he’s not failed yet. He’s still got lots of work to do and considering he has already turned over the roster and added as much as he can to the management team, including scouts etc, he hasn’t done as bad as the ignorant folks say he has.

          Still some people like you want to blame him for not getting a goalie or 1st line center, which both we might not need. So at what price and whom do you get to fulfill those needs?

  14. BigD says:

    I don’t understand the lack of faith in the players the Leafs have at the moment. I know they aren’t the best, but for what they did last season it wasn’t really all that bad when you consider their goalie situation.

    No matter how crap your team is, if you have a major net minder, then you’re always in contention. The reason I say that is because in the past when the Leafs had a great goaltender they were competitive to say the least. But once Belfive retired, it was downhill because of the lack of goaltending that we had. You pay attention to the positions too long and you start believing in it…even though the Leafs were able to be a major offensive team last year with almost no one on the team. You throw someone like Luongo back at net and things start to get a lot more positive. I say goalie before anything else. Luongo is a long term kinda crap thing to do, but for his consistency, maybe it’s time we toss a few of these ‘prospects’ (that haven’t saved the team whatsoever like a REAL prospect does), and get a secure puck stopper.

    How about Arnott for 3 years as a centre? Let him play out here, pay him his dumpy salary and let him stand between Lupul and Kessel and put JVR back with Berezin(sorry Grabovski) and whomever they decide to wing there… MacArthur or Kulemin or whatever.

    If the Leafs could only lose as well as Edmonton and Pittsburg, we could have had a pretty awesome team right now, trade or no trade. Seriously, what happened in Edmonton is obscene… and will continue to be.

  15. Old Soldier says:

    Once again, I am trying to be objective here, as hockey fans we all tend to get our knickers in a bunch when others criticize “our” teams.

    As a generality, we can assume the bottom 14 teams in the league are rebuilding or re-tooling (never understood that one). So maybe the best way to judge who is on the right track is to look at who has the best probability to be successful (I consider success a top 8 finish in the league, or top 4 in division). And I think a reasonable time table would be 2 years beginning next season.

    So my prediction as to who will be successful (not just make the playoffs but finish in the top 4 of the conference) in that time period in descending order of the bottom 14 teams is:

    1. Minnesota
    2. Carolina
    3. Tampa
    4. Buffalo
    5. Dallas
    6. Montreal
    7. Colorado
    8. Edmonton
    9. Winnipeg
    10. Toronto
    11. Islanders
    12. Anaheim
    13. Calgary
    14. Columbus

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