Cox: Bold moves could avert Leaf disaster
Dumping Vesa Toskala, Jason Blake would free up cap space, allow boxed-in Burke to go after roster upgrades
The Leaf GM does appear to be a wee bit boxed in, partly by the lacklustre state of his team after four games, and partly by the Kessel deal.
Burke can’t afford to let the season go downhill and make it simply about developing the team’s young players. Finishing at or near the bottom without a first-round pick to cash in on would be a major blow to his prestige.
Moreover, he can’t trade more futures in the form of draft picks or prospects to get immediate help without attracting intense criticism, plus he has no cap room with which to work.
Burke also won’t have the option of dumping players for picks – tanking – if the season doesn’t improve because Boston owns his first-rounder.
Boxed in, you see.
So what options are available?
For now, Burke has to sit tight, at least for tonight on Broadway and tomorrow night at home against Colorado. If not, he could start calling up youngsters from the Marlies, but a decision was made that they weren’t ready for the NHL and rushing them now would be counterproductive.