So Brian Burke was on with Mccown and Blair tonight. Burke is good on air and while he didn’t drop any major bombshells you can tell that he is really still trying to upgrade his roster. Burke said that ideally he would ship out not one but of his current defencemen. No, he didn’t name names. Kaberle is the obvious name that comes to everyone’s mind, well almost everyone. One has to wonder what Burke could get for Kaberle at this point on the open market. On draft it is was Kaberle and a pick for Kessel plus or minus a pick, someone’s pick. After the inital rush of signings the money seems to have dried up on many fronts. Yes minor league guys are getting signed, but I am pretty sure I read somewhere that almost 150 guys remain unsigned. Everyone always says that Kaberle’s salary is reasonable. The question is under which economic climate is or was it reasonable. All I will say about Kaberle is that you know what you are getting and you had better not lose him for nothing. Burke has gone on the record as stating that he won’t ask players with no trade clauses to wave them and on that notion he has less than a month to maximize his return on that asset. For those who say Burke can go back on his word, I think he will have a tough time doing that. Burke presents himself as if nothing else a man of integrity and honesty. He certainly preaches character above almost everything else. If he starts backtracking his credibility will take a major beating.
So who else would he like to move? I think he would love to move Jeff Finger and his contract, but won’t be able to. I think he would love to move VanRyn but won’t be able to. So….who is left??? He isn’t moving Schenn. I can’t imagine he is moving anyone he just signed. So, what about anyone he picked up via trade??? There is also the possibility of White and or Frogren.
Burke, as i told you earlier is going to be announcing the name of a new member of the front office staff tomorrow. Tongues are a wagging that it is going to be Markus Naslund in the role of European Scout or Head of European Scouting. I am not doubting the word on the street, it’s just that this doesn’t appear to be the type of announcement that warrants a press release leading up to the announcement to me. For the record, here is a list of the “management” of the Leafs:
Brian Burke President & General Manager
Dave Nonis Senior Vice-President of Hockey Operations
Cliff Fletcher Special Advisor
Mike Penny Director of Pro Scouting
Jeff Jackson Assistant General Manager & Director of Hockey Operations
Dallas Eakins Director of Player Development
Reid Mitchell Director, Hockey & Scouting Administration
Dave Griffiths Team Services Manager
Mary Speck Travel Coordinator
Brad Lynn Assistant to the General Manager’s Office
Now, maybe a guy named Costanza is going to be named to the position of Assistant to Mary Speck, the Travel Coordinator. For whatever reason I just am not seeing Naslund as a scout being big enough for that. Here are some random and I do mean random thoughts on other possibilities. First, keep in mind that Burke lost Joe N. Second, Burke has said publicly that he believes he will lose Nonis after this year. Sooooo, maybe he wants to start grooming someone new. He does after all have a long term deal. The most obvious name is that of Brad May. We haven’t heard his name mentioned much with respect to next season. Perhaps he is retiring and is going to be named special assistant to the GM? Another guy who could be in that role is Curtis Joseph. We know he has said he wants to play, but maybe Burke talked him into a managerial role that keeps him in Toronto. Clark and Sittler already have gigs so I doubt that they could be part of it. I know this is waaaaaay out there, but maybe it’s naming a guy like Joe Sakic to take on that advisor role. I have no clue if there are any ties between the two and I have no clue why he wouldn’t try to do something with the Avlanche… Let me repeat that it isn’t a rumour, just a thought. It would be pretty cool though!
Oh well, we will see what Burke has done in a few short hours. Good money is on Naslund. Again, I am not sure why that is so newsworthy, but….welcome to Toronto.