Managing Burke’s Maple Leaf Expectations

Well friends, it’s that time of year again. Time for our GM to check his list and go shopping. Yes, it’s the proverbial Thursday after American Thanksgiving for NHL GM’s. For us Leaf fans it is also what has been one of the few days to get excited about. So I turn to you again, and ask, what are you expecting? I don’t necessarily mean in terms of players, but what is it you want Burke to do? What is the goal? How should we judge him? Unfortunately, from my perspective, Burke has misspoken again, by saying that he will spend to the cap. Why is this a mistake? For two reasons primarily, one, I don’t care how much he spends as long as he builds the team properly. Don’t go overpay just to spend to the cap. I have much for patience for smart contracts than I do for dumb ones. Secondly, cap space is worth GOLD. Why go out and blow it now? If everyone is only mostly right (as opposed to mostly dead) and the cap only goes down slightly next year as opposed to dramatically, isn’t it still better to have lots of room to maneuver? Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t so much like last year when the battle cry was wait till 2 years. I think we got our Burke day present early and this is now his team.

So, here is what I am thinking. I would like things to be a little more clear in net than they were last year. I for one never was a huge fan of Toskala. I said when JFJ traded for him that it was another desperate move by a desperate GM. So an upgrade in net would be nice for me. I am also a big believer in trading assets when they are at their peak and also never losing assets for nothing. For that reason I think it would be in Burke’s best interest to move both of Kaberle and Kubina. I think therefore his attention should be on a stud pointman and some good strong tough d as well. Upfront more jam is needed and few guys with some hands. I know I am not overly popular with this but I don’t know why you go spend 12m on the twins, but as I say too often there are smarter folks out there who think this is a no brainer.

It was suggested to me that with a few brush strokes it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Burke could sign the Sedin twins, Beauchemin and trade Kaberle for Kesse and than also have the Monster in place. Would you be elated with that? If not that, what is it you want? How should we judge Burke? What do we want from our team this year?

For my 2 cents, I am certain of one thing. If they are going to be tooth and nail to make the playoffs, I would rather they shit the bed all over again. I’d rather be dead in the water than be in no man’s land again. In that regard, I would rather see Burke, spend really smart, retain as much cap space as possible and let the kids play. If he thinks he can really turn this around smartly and not mortgage his ability to make the right moves down the road, than I can live with that too. I won’t be crushed if they make the playoffs. I will be pretty fucking pissed if they finish 3 points out of it though. I would like to see him get out from some contracts, move some guys who are otherwise not going to be resigned and get value for those guys who are at their peak in terms of value.

The emphasis should be on building the franchise. Creating the right atmosphere, and getting players who make everyone around them better. No one in the boat who isn’t rowing the same way. I don’t care about what comes out of Burke’s mouth nearly as much as what comes from his fax machine and PR department. Show me, Brian, don’t tell me. Talk is cheap. Don’t tell me you are going to be active. Be active. Don’t talk about John Tavares, go get John Tavares (figuratively speaking).

I am not the least bit surprised that he tendered an offer to Justin Pogge. Why the hell wouldn’t he? There is nothing to lose. I mean, let your new goalie guru take a shot at him and if he still can’t play you have lost some cash. No brainer.

So, leaf fans, spill it…what do you want, and how do we judge BB?

TSM

About the Author