Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Burke's Blueprint

Brian Burke is not a subtle guy, he's blunt and he tells you exactly what he thinks about what you just asked, what's on his mind, and whether you suck or not. We all knew that, and it wouldn't be any kind of surprise if, when he got hired as Toronto's new General Manager, that he'd be re-making the team the way he saw fit. Shit, we were thinking that he was already involved in the inner-workings of the organization before he even left Anaheim when Ron Wilson was hired as head coach, and trades were made by interim GM Cliff Fletcher. But did anyone expect this much turnover to happen in that plan, or at the very least, in that time?

Burke took over control of the Leafs on November 29th, 2008, since then he has removed...
Robbie Earl, F - Traded to Minnesota for Hamilton, 1/21/09
Nik Antropov, F - Traded to New York Rangers for 2nd in 2009, 3/4/09
Dominic Moore, F - Traded to Buffalo for 2nd in 2009, 3/4/09
Richard Petiot, D - Traded to Tampa for Kolzig/Heward/Rogers, 3/4/09
Pavel Kubina, D - Traded to Atlanta for Exelby/Stuart, 7/1/09
Tim Stapleton, F - Traded to Atlanta for Exelby/Stuart, 7/1/09
Justin Pogge, G - Traded to Anaheim for 2011 Conditional Pick, 8/10/09
Jiri Tlusty, F - Traded to Carolina for Paradis, 12/3/09
Vesa Toskala, G - Traded to Anaheim as part of Giguere deal, 1/31/10
Jason Blake, F - Traded to Anaheim as part of Giguere deal, 1/31/10
Jamal Mayers, F - Traded to Calgary as part of Phaneuf deal, 1/31/10
Matt Stajan, F - Traded to Calgary as part of Phaneuf deal, 1/31/10
Ian White, D - Traded to Calgary as part of Phaneuf deal, 1/31/10
Niklas Hagman, F - Traded to Calgary as part of Phaneuf deal, 1/31/10
Alexei Ponikarovsky, F - Traded to Pittsburgh for Caputi/Skoula, 3/2/10
Lee Stempniak, F - Traded to Phoenix for Jones, 5th &7th in 2010, 3/3/10
Joey MacDonald, G - Traded to Anaheim for 7th in 2011, 3/3/10
And since then he has added...
Brad May, F - Trade from Anaheim for 6th 2010, 1/7/09 - Left via FA
Ryan Hamilton, F - Trade from Minnesota for Earl, 1/21/09
Martin Gerber, G - Waivers from Ottawa, 3/4/09 - Left via FA
Erik Reitz, D - Waivers from New York Rangers, 3/4/09 - Left via FA
Garnet Exelby, D - Trade from Atlanta for Kubina/Stapleton, 7/1/09
Mike Komisarek, D - Free Agent Signing, $22.5mil/5yrs., 7/1/09
Colton Orr, F - Free Agent Signing, $4mil/4yrs, 7/1/09
Francois Beauchemin, D - Free Agent Signing, $11.4mil/3yrs., 7/6/09
Jonas Gustavsson, G - Free Agent Signing via Elitserien, $2.5mil/1yr., 7/7/09
Rickard Wallin, F - Free Agent Signing, $800k/1yr., 7/10/09
Wayne Primeau, F - Trade from Calgary for Stralman/Stuart, 7/27/09
Phil Kessel, F - Trade from Boston for 1st & 2nd in 2010, 1st in 2011, 9/18/09
Phillipe Paradis, F - Trade from Carolina for Tlusty, 12/3/09
Dion Phaneuf, D - Trade from Calgary for Hagman/Stajan/White, 1/31/10
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, G - Trade from Anaheim for Blake/Toskala, 1/31/10
Fredrik Sjostrom, F - Trade from Calgary for Hagman/Stajan/White, 1/31/10
Keith Aulie, D - Trade from Calgary for Hagman/Stajan/White, 1/31/10
Jamie Lundmark, F - Waivers from Calgary, 2/13/10
Luca Caputi, F - Trade from Pittsburgh for Ponikarovsky, 3/2/10
Matt Jones, D - Trade from Phoenix for Stempniak, 3/3/10
Chris Peluso, D - Trade from Pittsburgh for 6th in 2010, 3/3/10

And those are just the bigger hits, not even really looking at the up and down work he's done with the Marlies, or players he's flipped. That's 17 guys sent out, 21 brought in, and a few of those have since left, all that in less than a year and a half.

BB always says he works from the goal out, so the first thing he did was steal Francois Allaire as Goaltending Coach from Anaheim. Allaire was one of the first ever goaltending coaches around the League, and has since revolutionized the position with his teaching methods. Burke then went out and grabbed Gustavsson from the Swedish Elite League as a free agent, dealt underachieving Toskala for Stanley Cup winning Giguere just before the Olympic break to solidify the posts.

As for defense, he traded for Garnet Exelby from Atlanta dealing Kubina in the process, signed American defenseman Mike Komisarek and the underrated Francois Beauchemin in free agency, and just recently added Dion Phaneuf from Calgary via trade. Not to mention the skilled Tomas Kaberle, overpaid Jeff Finger, and the young Luke Schenn that were already in the stable. There's a pretty solid defensive core there, despite what you might think of each of those individual players.

The offense is still a work in progress with the most notable acquisition being Phil Kessel for the best draft picks of the next two years. But if you want a dramatic overhaul to turnaround a team, you're going to do things that build your team better now, not in a few years when picks mature into NHL ready players. Players like Bozak, Stalman, Kulemin, and Kadri that are just coming of age into hockey maturity, are complemented with slightly more seasoned NHL players like Sjostrom, Grabovski, and Wallin, and no doubt more through trades and free agent signings in the offseason.

I will admit that I foolishly picked the Leafs to make the postseason this year, maybe I was giving Burke too much credit in too little time. But if I make the same assumption next year, I might not be as foolish.

Then again I could look like a fucking idiot.


Bettman's Nightmare said...

Like the underpants gnomes in South Park, Burke has a gap in his logic. The comparison:

-Underpants gnomes...Step 1: Steal Underpants, Step 2: ?, Step 3: Profit.

-Burke...Step 1: Make Large, Controversial Signings and Trades, Step 2: ?, Step 3: Polish Your Stanley Cup.

Nuuuuugs said...

I thought that's what all GM's did...
1. Do stuff to look busy and make it look like you know what you're doing.
2. Sit back.
3. Wait for success or to get fired, whichever comes first.
4. Repeat, or wait around until some other idiot hires you.

walkinvisible said...

holy shize you've been busy.

Nuuuuugs said...

You know its weird, I don't remember writing this much since before Xmas. But the bosses are away, so I'm doing fuckall.