The Kaberle Conundrum Vs. The Burke Boondoggle

Or, more appropriately, the immoveable object meets the unstoppable force.

Look, I’m no Leafs fan, so take my view with a grain of salt, but, that being said, the Kaberle issue is so intriguing that I just had to throw in my .02.

Burke, through a dogs breakfast of strategic planning, since his hiring in November 2008, has put himself, and his franchise, into a no win situation. He began his tenure preaching patience, dedicating his efforts to rebuilding through the draft, not mortgaging the future for quick fixes. To a man he was cheered for being the first GM in recent Leafs history to not succumb to the presumed pressures from the “Teachers” to be at marginally competitive, if not above average, in order to keep the cash flowing.

But, given his first opportunity to put his stamp on the team, Burke overspent on American UFA Komisarek. After uttering the now famous truculence speil, Burke seemed more committed to building a team of physical players, than a team of skilled play. In fact, going into training camp, the Leafs looked downright imposing. Myers, Orr, Exelby, Komisarek and Beauchemin, fulfilling the GM”s stated goal of toughness;
“Our goal is to make the playoffs next year; we’re going to have to make some changes to do it. We’re going to be a different team,” Burke said. “I like a lot of hitting. I like a lot of fighting. We have a passive group. All year long, when a trainer was on the ice — it was always our trainer — that really bothered me…It will be a more hostile group in the fall.”
Where would a mild-mannered Kaberle fit in with this, as one of the tough guys, or as one of the “passive” guys?

The fact he was being shopped, all season, would suggest he was in the “passive” group.

Making matters worse, after “fixing” his blueline, Burke and his brain trust seemed to believe the rebuild was coming along ahead of schedule, so made a huge move, especially for a rebuilding team, and traded away 2 – 1st rounders, and a second rounder, in acquiring yet unproven American winger Phil Kessel. Not only did they mortgage the future to acquire him, but the contract they signed him to paid him like a star, and burned the remainder of his RFA years. One season later, after a horrible performance, Burke watched the Bruins select 2nd over-all, while still holding next seasons 1st round pick in their hand.

For a man consumed by competition, this had to burn to his very core. Whether he would admit it or not, he made a colossal error, and worse yet, it still wasn’t over.

How, you may ask, does this impact upon Kaberle? Simple, Burke will not, if he can help it, sit through another draft while watching his close rival select another franchise player, at his expense.

Once again, a lack of patience from leadership in Toronto, has made for a rudderless journey toward terminal mediocrity in Toronto the not so good.
Kaberle, with his offensive gifts, offers a reasonable chance to improve the Leafs standing come next years draft. Trading Kaberle, for picks or prospects, that will not contribute to an improved 2010/11 season will do nothing to shield Burke from another soul destroying display at the draft podium come June 2011.

The big question is, will Kaberle, a player no doubt aware of his status on the Leafs, be willing to do what it takes to be an impact player? If the end of last season is any indication, the answer is a resounding “No!”. 14 pts in 42 games, sure, not terrible, but not season changer either. Worse, in the 20 games he played after the trade deadline, he amassed a whopping 3 pts.

So what is Burke doing exaclty? Buiding through the draft? Building through trades? Building through UFA’s? A little bit of everything it would seem.  But maybe, above all else, pandering to his own ego, ahead of the best interests of his team.



32 Responses to “The Kaberle Conundrum Vs. The Burke Boondoggle”

  1. So much of what you write is untrue.

    “He began his tenure preaching patience, dedicating his efforts to rebuilding through the draft, not mortgaging the future for quick fixes.”

    I don’t believe he ever once stated he will rebuild thought the draft or demanded patience in the form of a multi-year rebuild. He has always stated he believes teams can be rebuilt quickly and 5-year rebuilds are not necessary. It is so sad that people in the media and fans simply don’t listen to what he says because he rarely misleads people.

    “The fact he was being shopped, all season, would suggest he was in the ‘passive’ group.”

    Kaberle has never been shopped. Burke likes what Kaberle brings to the team. Yes, he is not physical but not all Burke players need to be physical. Scott Niedermayer wasn’t all that physical. Teemu Selanne wasn’t all that physical. Phil Kessel isn’t physical. Burke believes in a mix of physical toughness and skill. Kaberle is in the skill category, Komisarek is in the toughness category.

    “in acquiring yet unproven American winger Phil Kessel.”

    I guess if scoring 36 goals is unproven then you could describe Kessel that way. Kessel looks like a 35 goal guy to me with potential for more. Unproven would be Tyler Seguin and the other draft picks sent to Boston.

    For those who can’t see the forest for the trees, what Burke is doing, is acquiring talented players who are young. This is one of the youngest, if not the youngest, teams in the NHL. The core of this team is aged 22-26 unlike many Leaf teams of the past. He isn’t trading for or signing 32 year olds, he is trading for and singing 20 somethings. Phaneuf, Schenn, Kessel, Bozak, Grabovski, Versteeg, Kadri, Kulemin, Gunnarsson, Gustavsson, etc. are all talented young players on the verge of entering their prime together and there are more in the pipeline. This team has more talented young players on their roster and in the pipeline than they have had in decades. They still need another premiere forward (which is what Burke was looking for if he were to trade Kaberle) with skill and size but they are not that far away from contending if some of these young guys take their careers up a notch. With some decent and steady goaltending (Burke admits his biggest mistake last year was believing in Toskala) they have a great chance to make the playoffs this year.

    • And Boston thanks you for ANOTHER lottery pick. After JFJ I thought the blue and whites had nowhere to go but up. Boy, did they prove me wrong! Can’t wait to see what other amazing train wrecks Burke can manage.

      Unfortunately, the leaf debacle also helps the Bruins, they are adding franchise players at the leafs expense! I don’t want Boston to become a powerhouse for the next 15 years!!!

    • Hey David,
      I’m not sure why you think Kabby wasn’t being shopped, as he clearly was, at the 08/09 trade deadline, during the 09/10 off season, at the 09/10 deadline, and this off season. To deny this is not just revisionist history, it’s patently untrue. It’s all on the record from Burke himself.
      Burke was clear he intended to make the team reasonably competitive in the short-term, but without jeopordizing the teams future. When asked about protecting draft picks, Burke had this to say; “We’ve got to do it the right way, and that involves some short term pain, it means we might lose more games than we’d like to lose…We’re taking the long term approach here, the goal is a Championship, not making the play-offs one year”. When asked about his thoughts on the desires of Leaf Nation vis a vis future on ice performance “I think they (Leaf fans) understand that short term fixes haven’t worked, the band-aid hasn’t worked, I think they understand that I’m going to do this right, and with a long term plan, and I sense patience”.
      He was also on record having stated, at the outset of his tenure, the biggest need the organization had in the short term was draft picks, to jump start the rebuild.

      Now, how do these, on the record, facts differ from my statements again?

      Come his first off season, he trades away 2 first round draft picks, and a second, for a player with 2 years of NHL experience, and in so doing also committed considerable future cap space (to an RFA no less). This is not protecting the teams future, it’s blowing the bank on one guy, or, in other words, putting a gold plated toilet seat in a port-a-potty. He then goes on to say he believes the 2009/10 Leafs will make the post season.
      This is “doing it the right way” and showing a willingness to “losing more games than we may like”, or a “long term approach”?
      Get real.
      The fact is Burke has always been a say one thing, do another type of guy, it’s endemic to a person who seeks media attention, for whatever reason. The more you put “on the record” the more easily you are proven to be a hypocrite. Now that he’s in Toronto, it’s all the more obvious, as the media is all the more willing to air his blather.
      How long did we have to hear about Burke landing Tavares, all for naught?
      How long did we have to endure the dreams of Kaberle for Savard, or Ryan, all for naught?
      As for Kessel, yes, he’s a good player, but he’s also 22, has no RFA years remaining, and until last season, played with a talented centre. This is not present on the Leafs, barring a trade, or player development. Kadri? Stalberg? Maybe, but those remain big, big, IFS.
      Now, after a horrendous 2009/10 campaign, Burke said in early April, 2010; “I’m not interested … in a five-year rebuild like some of these teams have done,” said Burke. “Maybe because of my age, maybe just because I know it doesn’t have to be five years because it wasn’t in Anaheim…I like the group that finished the year, I think just on internal improvement we will be better. I think we will be good enough with this group and a couple additions to say in training camp that the playoffs are a reasonable goal.”
      Am I a Leafs fan? Hell no, but, to keep my bias from running wild, I do base my opinion on facts, direct quotes, and actions.
      Do you?
      Or maybe it’s just that Burke says so much, and all so differing, we can be both right, and wrong, at the same time, lol!

      • “I think they (Leaf fans) understand that short term fixes haven’t worked, the band-aid hasn’t worked, I think they understand that I’m going to do this right, and with a long term plan, and I sense patience”

        And he has stuck to that. He hasn’t signed one player over the age of 30 as a short term fix. He never once said the Leafs needed to endure 3-5 years of sucking to rebuild. From day 1 he said he wants to make the playoffs every year, including the year of his arrival. He just isn’t going to mortgage the future for a one year run at the playoffs and he hasn’t. He has traded draft picks for other young players but that isn’t the same as trading draft picks for short term fixes.

        In posted on April 1, 2009 he said he wanted to make the playoffs in 2009-10. Is that the patience you talk about? He also discussed being open to trading his first round pick outright in the right deal.

        • David, he talks out of both sides of his mouth, THAT is the point. When asked how long it would take to rebuid, he says I don’t know, maybe 3 years, maybe 7. From this you glean a quick rebuild?
          He’s been on record saying he needs more draft picks.
          He’s on record saying he will work with a long term plan.
          He’s aon record saying he’s willing to move draft picks for players.
          He’s on record saying he needs to protect his draft picks.
          He’s traded draft picks away.
          He’s on record saying a rubuild will likely mean losing more games then you would like.
          He’s on the record saying he’s going for the play-offs.
          He’s on the record saying he won’t be just trying to go for the play-offs.
          He’s on the record saying he won’t ask Kaberle to waive his no trade.
          He’s on the record saying he’s waiting for a willing to go to list from Kaberle.
          He’s on the record saying he has multiple offers for Kaberle.
          He’s on the record saying there’s “nothing happening” on the Kaberle front.
          Blah, blah, blah.
          Finished second last and gave away 3 draft picks getting there.
          The real facts (performance) speak for themselves, the rest is like an Eklund rumour, a pile of shit flung at the wall, eventually something sticks.

          • Honestly, you fail to see the forest for the trees. You pick quotes out of context and use them to prove an invalid point. Here is the reality.

            1. Burke does have a plan and that plan includes having a sustainable pipeline of prospects (acquired through draft, trade, free agent signing).
            2. Burke has never once traded high draft picks for an aging veteran.
            3. Burke has never signed a free agent that isn’t young enough to be a contributor to the team 3-5 years from now.
            4. Burke has increased the talent level on this team *and* made it significantly younger *and* built up its list of prospects in a year and a half.

            All of that makes Burke different from his recent predecessors.

          • David, seriously? The guy has said everything under the sun, and in doing so, ainted himself into a corner when he traded away the future for Kessel. I’m not taking his words out of context, watch the video. The fact he changed his tune later IS MY POINT! That FACT is as plain as the nose on your face, even if your willing to cut it off.
            Burke cannot watch another draft where his pick is used against him, with little or nothing in return. Nobody outside of a fool could miss seeing this, no matter how biased they may be.
            He could not move Kaberle, for future assets, without risking his teams performance next season, a season he mortgaged when he traded for Kessel. What his “longterm” plan may now be, who the hell knows, and honestly, I suspect it’s absolutely fluid, as have been his actions his entire career.
            Burke is putting his ego and pride ahead of the long term interests of the Leafs. Like it or not. Trading Kaberle, for picks or prospects, would have better served the franchise than using him to improve their short-term results. If he walks for nothing (IF), it will be a huge lost opportunity for a supposedly “rebuilding” team.
            David, being a fan doesn’t mean you have to ignore reality, the Kessel trade, and the subsequent environment it created, is toxic. Do you really think Burke would accept risking another lottery pick for Boston, by trading Kabby for a prospect or pick? Because, next season is irrelevant…but not to Burke, and his ego.
            So go ahead, argue Burke has been moving “as planned”, and the train is chugging along nicely…whatever gets you through another era of futility.

  2. Differing Opinion Says:

    There’s no saying that Toronto finishes that low.
    They have a solid D, solid goaltending and an average to decent group of forwards.

    On top of that, Burke can attempt to trade for a first round pick or other assets.

    You can call what they did a train wreck but:

    Gustavsson GIguere >>>> Toskala

    A “D” of Schenn, Phaneuf, Kaberle, Gunnarsson, Beauchemin, Komisarek>>> one of Kubina, White, Finger, etc.

    The Leafs forward group was in decline after the lockout anyway. The old core of Tucker, Sundin, Antropov, etc wasn’t getting results and got replaced with younger players.

    Lastly, Burke gets knocked for the 1st round picks but he has a 30-40 goal scorer NOW. On top of that, Kessel IS a first round pick and Phaneuf IS a first round pick as well. So he obtained a 1st rounder in an asset dump, traded unknown future assets for a known quantity and cleared out a lot of the old, underachieving players.

    Will this make the Leafs instant contenders? Probably not. But they had to change something along the way.

    I feel a knot in my stomach as October approaches. We could well lose that first game to the Leafs…and that would be a shameful, embarassing step back for this Senators franchise. Heck, what if we lose to the Sabres? Starting the season 0-2…not great stuff. 2-0 is the only way to go.

    • DO,
      Yes both Kessel and Phaneuf are first round picks, but neither are paid as budding stars. THAT is the difference. Where they are picked is meaningless, the performance to price ratio is the issue, and it is very reasonable, based upon recent top picks (Tavares, Stamkos, etc) that Boston far and away won this deal, and still has a 1st round pick to boot!
      Yes the D corp has inproved, but I thought the same last year, to no marked improvement on the ice. Phaneuf was chased out of Calgary, that may not bode well for the future, but who’s to say for sure. Beauch stuggled mightily when tasked as a #1, out from under the protection of Neids. Komi…seems more of a gamble than ever, especially at his price. Schenn, still to early to tell, but his sophomore year was even worse than one would have expected. I just can’t help but get nervous when I see “problems” leave Toronto, to only suddenly blossom on there new teams, while the same old issues fester in Toronto after their departure. I can’t explain it, maybe it was bad luck, or a neative synergy thing that is being worked out, only time will tell.
      I do know nobody expected the Leafs to do as poorly as they did, and t me this means the problem is not obvious, therefore not obviously solved.

  3. I can’t begin to describe the amount of ignorance and pure venom in this post. For all the reasons that you are WRONG WRONG WRONG check out on Wednesday …

    • I’m sure you can’t begin to describe the amount of ignorance…because there was zero ignorance. My opinion was based upon on the record facts. You may not like them, and choose instead to place them in the category of “venom” but ignorant they are not.
      Don’t hate on me, hate on Burke.

  4. Not shopping Kaberle? Define “shopping”. When you constantly stoke the media trade fires and basically do everything but come out and say “we are shopping him (until this weekend)” then you are probably shopping him. Regardless, I’m pretty sure that kaberle feels hes being shopped.

    I agree it isnt a rudderless ship, hes clearly got a plan but I’m not sure if hes doing it very well. The hardest part isnt getting an average level of talent, its making the next step. This team isnt prepared to make the next step. Komisarek is a gross overpayment and his contract would not fit on any contending team. Colby armstrong at 3 million dollars? You dont overpay for your bottom six if you want to win a cup. Its all about the salary cap and apparently he hasnt come around on that point. Another issue was the fact that he didnt evaluate his team properly- signing all those aging defencemen as sensay pointed out. I mean if the young talent does start to flourish is this his answer? Overpaying for older players?

    I am definately not pro tanking, regardless of how well a few teams have done, statistically it does not work and i do like burke’s overall plan but he just doesnt have enough patience at all. Its fine to be impatient when all you want is a good team but to get a perrenial contender you need to either tank/get lucky in the draft or not take on bad contracts (be patient).

    • You dont overpay for your bottom six if you want to win a cup.

      Yup. There is no way Chicago could win the cup paying 3rd liner John Madden $2.75M or Byfuglien $3M or Versteeg $3.083M or Bolland $3.375M. That just wouldn’t happen.

      signing all those aging defencemen as sensay pointed out.

      Aging defensemen? Phaneuf is 25. Komisarek is 28. Schenn is 20. Gunnarssson is 23. Lebda is 28. Those guys are all over the hill? I guess you meant the 30 year old Beauchemin or the 32 year old Kaberle. Honestly, how many teams in the NHL have their oldest defenseman 32 years of age? The core of the Senators defense is 32+. Phillips is 32, Kuba is 33, and Gonchar is 36.

      • Here’s the BIG thing, you can pay you’re bottom six like top sixes, if you’re playing your top six like bottom sixes, as was the case in CHI.
        Therefore, the rule holds true, defined by the exception.

        • Ahhh, right. So long as a cheap player or two are in the top six we are OK with Armstrong on the third line. Bozak, check. Kadri, check. All is good.

          • You’re comparing the impact of Bozac and Kahdri to Toews and Kane?
            Sheesh, you are terminal.
            Yeah, and the Sens have Shannon and Regin, so we’re all good too!
            All respect for your opinion…gone.

          • Lets see what Bozak and Kadri do in the next year or two. Bozak had 27 points in 37 games last year. Pro-rate that to 82 games and you get 60 points as a rookie. That isn’t too shabby. Not as good as Kane, but more than decent. 60-70 points this season for Bozak is not unreasonable.

            Toews has yet to have a 70 point season. Do I think that Kadri is capable of reaching 70 points in one or more of his first 3 seasons with the Leafs? Sure, why not. I don’t know if he will, but it is well within the realm of possibility.

          • Bozak >>> Kane Toews.
            Ok, if you say so.
            What Burke really needs to do is now trade Kahdri for Kyle Wilson, a proven NHL centreman with a 1.00 GAA! I’m betting, if anyone can, he can make it happen, and assuming you stick to your statistical argument, you’ll be tickled by the move.
            Assuming Bozaks totals will reflect in an 82 game reality, when earned while playing for a team with nothing to lose, while nobody is competing against them, is also your choice.
            But, it would be the same argument I could have used going into the 2009/10 season to claim Ryan Shannon would produce as good as, or better than Umberger, Wheeler, Cleary, S. Gagne, Vermette, Dubinsky, Callahan, Armstrong, Neal, Penner, Byfuglien, just to name a few.
            I can only imagine your level of “buy in” for that argument, lol!

          • Clearly you cannot read. I never said Bozak is better than Kane. In fact, I stated the exact opposite.

  5. Byfuglien, Bolland and versteeg are all better players than colby armstrong… Sure Madden is an overpayment but chicago had a glorious year because of their insane talent level. The leafs will never have this kind of talent because they arent going to tank for several years. Therefore they have to be patient and not sign dumb contracts. Burke says he wants to have a physical bottom 6 and a highly skilled top 6. Chicago went with the balanced, highly skilled top 9. Sure those players cost alot of money but they are great players. Grabovski for 2.9 million? Beauchemin for 3.8? Komisarek for 4.5??? These players are decent but they hardly match up if you compare similarily paid players. Kessel is a great player but hes not a superstar like Hossa, Teows or Kane- those players were underpaid.

    You are right, aging is the wrong word but by the time the Leafs are ready Beauchemin will have alot of miles for a physical defenseman. When they signed excelby and komisarek the leafs were nowhere near ready to contend, it was the wrong move. Komisarek is overpayed and if he does play to his potential by the time his contract is up the leafs will have to overpay for him again if they want to keep him. None of these signings are going to help in the long term. They will not get enough talent fast enough to be able to pull this off.

    I’m not here to defend the sens, they are as guilty as anyone… but you cant really compare the management style of a team thats rebuilding to a team that has made the playoffs 9 of 10 years or whatever it is and needs to do so to be in good financial shape.

    • Without a doubt, as recent history has shown (Redden v. Chara, Emery, coacing roulette, DDH) the Sens, like any team, have issues of there own. .At least, as you pointed out, we have winning seasons, and made it to the Cup finals, to help smooth the ups and downs of NHL drama

    • Byfuglien has never had a 20 goal season. Armstrong has. Byfuglien doesn’t play on the PK, Armstrong does. I am not sure Byfuglien is any better than Armstrong. Bolland may be slightly better, but not that much.

      Is Komisarek overpaid? Maybe a bit. Is Beauchemin? Maybe marginally. I’d rather have Beauchemin at $3.8M than Phillips at $3.5. But neither contract will be a drag on the Leafs or have hindered the Leafs in any way.

      You talk about Exelby as if Burke signed him. He didn’t. He acquired him back in a Pavel Kubina salary dump. He probably didn’t even want him. Exelby was never going to be a Leaf beyond the one year left in his contract.

      Grabovski at $2.9 isn’t horrible either if he can return to the 20g, 50point guy he was 2 years ago and I think he could produce that or a bit more. Regardless, there is no long term commitment to Grabovski and if he doesn’t work out, there are others in the system who should be ready to step up.

      • Beauch over Philips, for more money?
        Phillips better PROD, better +/-, bigger body, as or more physical, better Dman, way more experience.
        Absolutely, pay more for less, it’s the way of the Leafs!


    • David Johnson = Rabid, blind faith Leaf fan. But there are worse things to be, like a serial killer…I guess.

  7. Byfuglien was a force in the playoffs for 2 years in a row, hes an impact player which is exactly what the Leafs will need… Colby armstrong is an above average depth player. Also id be curious to see if Colby can get 20 goal playing 3rd line minutes on a contender, I think not. Komisarek @ 4.5 million = gross overpayment. Not only is he overpaying hes overpaying in the wrong areas- defensive defenceman grow on trees. When Komisarek’s contract ends, he will either have to overpay to retain him or risk having a hole in his lineup. Grabovski is in no mans land, he wont be good enough offensively to make up for his other shortcomings and he definately isn’t bottom six material.
    Also, you dont Pro-rate rookies… prospect developement just doesnt work like that.

    • Byfuglien is a big body who stands in front of the oppositions net and created havoc and taps in some goals. Is he a great player? No. He had the worst +/- on the Blackhawks last year, both in the regular season (-7) and in the playoffs(-4). He is a liability defensively.

      Colby Armstrong was tied for second best +/- on the Thrashers last year and was 5th best the year before. Armstrong has never been a – player, is solid defensively and kills penalties. Who would I rather have on my third line? Armstrong. Oh, and Armstrong played mostly on the third line last year for a non-contender (he was 9th in ES TOI/Game on Atlanta and had relatively little PP time-far less then Byfuglien) so on a contender one could expect more.

      Also, you dont Pro-rate rookies… prospect developement just doesnt work like that.

      Yes and no. Pro-rating rookies makes some sense but I’ll agree isn’t the best indicator. But we have to go with something and he looked like a prospect with good offensive upside and I certainly believe 65+ points is achievable this upcoming season.

  8. “60-70 points this season for Bozak is not unreasonable.
    Toews has yet to have a 70 point season.”

    David, you wrote it, it doesn’t take a genius to read you predict Bozac, playing for the Leafs, will possibly out perform Toews playing for the Hawks.
    Either that or, you don’t even buy your own argument…like me.

    • Funny, I thought when you wrote “Bozak >>> Kane.” that you meant Patrick Kane, not Jonathan Toews. Bozak is more of a Kane type player than a Toews like player hence why I compared him to Kane and not Toews to which I wrote “Not as good as Kane, but more than decent. 60-70 points this season for Bozak is not unreasonable. ”

      Then, in a new paragraph (meaning new point/area of discussion, basic grammar here), I talk about Toews not having a 70 point season and then talking about Kadri and how he could become a 60-70 point player similar to Toews. The reason is, Kadri is probably more of a Toews kind of player than a Kane kind of player.

      I don’t know what Bozak and Kadri are going to become but is it certainly within the realm of possibility that Bozak can be a poor man’s Kane and Kadri can be Toews-like.

      BTW, it is Bozak, not Bozac and Kadri, not Kahdri and Stalberg is no longer in the Leafs organization.

      • Yes, post should have read Toews, corrected, my bad.
        New paragraph does not mean “ignore all statements made prior to this”
        If you believe Bozak may exceed Toews in points (you predict Bozak may well produce 70 pts next season), in his first full season, as you stated, you surmise him to be the superior offensive player, especially if you consider the quality of line mates.
        Again, your specious argument, not mine.
        BTW, thanks for the spelling lesson, at least you get that right.

    • Haha. The only way Bozak gets enough ice time to get 70 pts is if the leafs are a lottery team. AGAIN. And I don’t want to see Boston getting another elite player.

      And it’s no use blaming the goaltending – Toskala only played 26 games in leafland going 7-12. In Calgary he went 6-2. What does that tell you about the leaf defense?

      The leafs won’t make the playoffs this year. They won’t even come close without a big upgrade somewhere.

      When Burke came to TOR he had a sensible plan involving the draft. He threw that away when he traded 2+1 big picks for Phil Kessel, who’s a hell of a hockey player. But he ruined any chance to have young players in a no-pressure environment. He has to go with vets or give Boston another lottery pick. They still might get one.

      Burke’s stated new plan is to “win now” – not an environment conducive to breaking in young talent. And with Wilson as coach? Please!

      I think we can expect a “new” plan next year designed to make up for the failures of the last plan. The good news is that after it fails the leafs will likely get a new GM. Hopefully one that understands there is only one way to win in the NHL. And that is to draft and develop young players.

  9. The fact that we’re even comparing Bozak to Toews makes me laugh. I’ll eat my shorts if Bozak gets 70 points this upcoming season.

    Is Kessel a good player? Yes, sure. Is he worth two 1st rounders? No way. Boston got the better deal here. What Burke did was essentially pay the same price as an offer sheet to get Kessel, but ended up making the same trade anyway.

    Sequin will be a superstar in this league. Kessel- we’ll see.

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