Burke ready to deal
Brian Burke says he’d be willing to start the playoffs with the Maple Leafs’ roster as currently constituted, but intends to make a trade in the coming weeks to try and extend any post-season run.
Speaking on The Fan 590 radio Wednesday night, with his team in its best position to challenge for a berth since he arrived, the general manager said just qualifying for the first time in six years was not good enough.
“I’m not interested in getting our asses kicked in the first round,” he said. “I’m not paid just to get in the playoffs. We could have got in last year if we’d traded our kids for a couple of 30-year-olds.
“I want to get in with a reasonable chance to (advance deep) or bloody someone’s nose while doing it. I think we’ll be able to do something (trade-wise).”
Burke is being a little presumptuous, with the Leafs still having 40 games to go and sitting just five points from ninth place on Wednesday afternoon. But with a four-game win streak, five overall at home, a hot goalie and a favourable schedule the rest of this month, he’s ready to make his move.
“We’re a little small up front and we don’t have much playoff experience,” he noted. “If the playoffs started tomorrow, I would still like our chances. (But) we are looking to add and get better now.”
The trade he’s hinting at for a big centre or winger could come very soon, as he traditionally eschews the rush at the NHL deadline (Feb. 27 this year).
“I’m a January guy,” he reminded “I set my price and try and let my team play through the deadine (without worrying about trades). The math doesn’t work at the deadline when 24 teams are buying. There can only be one (Stanley Cup) parade.”