Monday, September 21, 2009

Going To Work With Brian Burke

Once Brian Burke took over as the general manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs, you knew he'd get his work done as fast as possible.

So was it much of a surprise when Toronto turned from basement fodder to a possible playoff team just over one off-season?

It didn't surprise me either.

Burke works quickly and likes to build a tough team. He did just that this off-season by signing defensemen Francois Beauchemin and Mike Komisarek. Trading Pavel Kubina to the Atlanta Thrashers for the hard hitting defender, Garnet Exelby. Signing a hard-nosed forward from Sweden, Rickard Wallin. Then adding the big fighter from Winnipeg, Colton Orr.

Burke also landed the Monster from Sweden, goaltender, Jonas Gustavsson.

Burke had assembled a very tough core of players who could not only beat their opponents on the scoreboard, but also beat them physically as well. But something was still missing. They needed a natural goal-scorer, and they knew just where to find one.

Toronto had been rumored to be working a deal with the Boston Bruins. Rumors had it that Tomas Kaberle and a pick would be headed to Boston, but after some confusion of the pick washed that deal and started new talks.

The Leafs finalized a deal with the Bruins that would send the Leafs 1st round pick and 2nd round pick in the 2010 NHL entry draft, as well as their 1st round pick in the 2011 NHL entry draft to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Phil Kessel.

Burke had done it. He had acquired his premiere sniper, who will be out until mid-November at best after a successful surgery on a torn rotator cuff and labrum. But this didn't stop them from re-signing Kessel to a five-year, $27 million contract.

Now Burke gets to decide on how his team will be iced this coming season. The Leafs had nine defensemen who are under one-way contracts. There are only seven spots available.

One plus for Burke is that defensemen, Ian White, can also play as a right-winger. This depth helped the Leafs last season as well. The often injured Mike Van Ryn is a big question mark as well.

This puts Burke in position to trade, which we've learned can be a fun thing to pay attention to.

Though some people question Brian Burke on his trades, his very vocal opinion, and many other things, one thing is for certain.

When you have Brian Burke as your general manager, you'll always be entertained.

Randall Ritchey

No comments: