Brian Burke ready to make moves as free agency opens

The Maple Leafs will be front and centre on Thursday when free agency opens up.

“We will be active,” said GM Brian Burke. “I expect plenty of activity despite a shrinking talent pool.”

But who will be a Leaf? If he lasts until then, no question Burke would love to land defenceman Dan Hamhuis, giving him the freedom to deal a blue-liner or two for a top-six forward.

Or how about Matthew Lombardi, the speedy centre from the Phoenix Coyotes who might turn into a cheaper version of Marc Savard, the Bruins forward said to be willing to waive his no-trade deal to come to Toronto.

Perhaps it will be Colby Armstrong of the Thrashers, the gritty former Penguin who might rather be reunited with Sidney Crosby that rebuild with Toronto.

It would be a shocker if Burke tried for Ilya Kovalchuk, the gifted scorer from the New Jersey Devils. Burke has already said he isn’t interested.

It is, for some, almost like Christmas when the clock strikes noon on Thursday as fans wait to see what players their GMs will have wrapped up. Who can forget the year Leaf fans got the Finger?

But it isn’t just fans who look forward to this.

“It can’t come soon enough,” impending free-agent goalie Dan Ellis tweeted to his followers. “Exciting to think of the possibilities! I just want to win!”–brian-burke-ready-to-make-moves-as-free-agency-opens