Despite the fact that his hockey team has not taken the ice in nearly two months, Toronto Maple Leafs’ general manager Brian Burke has remained in demand and in the spotlight this off-season.

On Sunday on Toronto radio station AM 640, Burke discussed the latest news, or lack thereof as the Leafs attempt to re-sign forward Nikolai Kulemin .

Burke stated that the talks have hit a standstill and that he believes that the player and his agent are overvaluing the services of the Russian winger who had 16 goals and 20 assists in 78 games last season.

“We haven’t exchanged proposals in a couple of weeks now,” Burke admitted to AM 640.

“While they can say: ‘he was on your first line last year,’ there is no one who would say Nikolai Kulemin is a first line left winger. He’s a first line left winger by default because we did not have a very good team. I’m not paying for someone who gets the position by default.”

Burke touched on a number of subjects during the interview, including the rumour that defenceman Dion Phaneuf would be named team captain at a press conference on June 17th.

“First off, that’s a coaching decision, not a general manager’s decision,” Burke told AM 640. “If that’s the way that Ron Wilson decides to go, I would support that obviously. I will not deny that is going to happen, but I’m certainly not going to confirm it either.”



  1. cam7777 says:

    edler was a beast for them; his nationality is irrelevent.  again, they need to be able to transition the puck to the sedins more quickly.  realistically, there isn't a defense in the league that is going to completely stifle the blackhawks.  their best chance is to fight fire with fire and hope luongo steals the show.  and what makes you think gillis is going to go less euro – so far he's signed demitra, samuelsson, sundin, and traded for ehrhoff.  you think he cares about what bob mckenzie says?

    again, if that isn't enough, then just offer-sheet clarkson and watch him leave for a 2nd round pick.  it's fine if you think he's worth more, but the reality is, Lou isn't going to match an offer that high.  this is the man that signed parise for just over 3 million.  he isn't about to hand clarkson 3 million based on potential. 

    grabovski has his issues, but you've painted a pretty biased picture.  the guy has consistently improved his faceoff ability, and become a reliable defensive center.  he was a plus 3 this year with the league's worst defense and goaltending.  that's just plain erroneous.  yes, he's inconsistent, but so are the wingers he's been paired with.  attitude problems are exageratted or non-existent.  the team seems to love him nowadays.  funny what speaking english can do for you.

    conversely, LA sees Handzus and Moller as wingers, and really only uses them as such.  They feel Stoll is a defense first center, and that his point production is forced.  They are actively looking for a creative center, and they are about to lose Frolov for nothing.  Getting Grabovski and a pick for a couple of picks they don't need at all isn't a bad idea.  There certainly aren't many (if any) better options available for that price.  In other words, Grabovski helps their team more than any 2nd rounder would next year, and all it costs them is the swap between a 4th and a 2nd (and a 59th overall 2nd at that).

    JVR has been on the block for less than that before, and I wouldn't be surprized if he still is.  even if burke has to throw in blacker, or hayes, it's all good if you ask me.

  2. cam7777 says:

    Kulemin weighs 225 now, and hits like an absolute beast.  his puck-control is as good as Staal's now too.  Don't forget, Staal plays with Malkin a lot, and does get PP time with some elite players.  It's a myth that he gets no offensive ice-time.

  3. Kev_Leafs says:

    I'm not sure Kulemin would develop into a perennial Selke candidate the way Staal has been/should continue to be, that being said, Kulemin might rack up some points but Staal I feel could put up just as many. 

    As I said, I wouldn't trade Kulemin if he'd signed for a fair amount, like 2.8 for 2 years.

    I think the Leafs need a big centre.  As is stands, we're entering the year with three top two centres standing : 5'11" (180lbs), 6' (165lbs), 6' (167lbs) – based on 2009 weigh-ins.  Yes, they need to put on weight, but even 40lbs of muscle is impossible for one off-season.  The Leafs would be a lot better off going forward if they had a centre 6'4" (220lbs) with a comparable skill-set to Kulemin. 

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