Rink Wrap: Burke needs to land a big one

The honeymoon is over for Maple Leafs president and GM Brian Burke.

While his decision to fire Ron Wilson as coach and replace him with Randy Carlyle was viewed as a good move in NHL circles, the most important summer of Burke’s career at the helm of the Leafs certainly lies ahead.

Not making the playoffs is a major disappointment and Burke has failed to address the club’s two biggest needs: Landing a franchise forward and a top-flight goaltender. If that doesn’t change, it’ll be more of the same for the Leafs.

Since there aren’t any franchise players available on the unrestricted free-agent market, Burke is either going to have to get back in the sweepstakes for Columbus’ Rick Nash or find a way to pry Ryan Getzlaf out of Anaheim.

Once that area has been dealt with, the Leafs need a goalie. Jonas Gustavsson will likely walk as a UFA, which means the Leafs should target Canucks backup Cory Schneider, who is expected to be moved in the off-season.

The problem is, Burke isn’t going to be the only one trying to land a netminder. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman will be aggressive and if Scott Howson is still GM in Columbus, then he’s going to looking for a goalie as well.


231 Responses to Rink Wrap: Burke needs to land a big one

  1. reinjosh says:

    It sounds like the word haha. 

    Yeah I still can't for the life of me figure out how Tambellini has a job. And how Edmonton fans think he is so great. He's done absolutely nothing. Outside of the Penner trade, he can claim nothing. He can't even claim drafting, since you know thats the head scouts job lol. 
    Yeah no kidding. Honestly, I respect the Penguins mad (and I more mean Shero since I was like 2 when Mario and Co won the cup the first time). Yeah sure they got some help with the draft but Shero is a shrewd motherf'er. He's definitely not give enough credit for what he does.
  2. reinjosh says:

    Eh I still have faith in Kadri. He's to damn talented to not be an impact player. We just need patience. That year will work out fine.

    And I can sort of get the issue with people calling the Pens tankers for back then. I mean, they did get investigated by the league for it, so people might be a little suspect of it.
    But yeah I'm with you. Lose but learn to play under Caryle. Get a top pick and go into next year strong. Kessel seems to be playing fine. He's like the only offensive player we have that's consistently playing. 
  3. reinjosh says:

    Eh I still have faith in Kadri. He's to damn talented to not be an impact player. We just need patience. That year will work out fine.

    And I can sort of get the issue with people calling the Pens tankers for back then. I mean, they did get investigated by the league for it, so people might be a little suspect of it.
    But yeah I'm with you. Lose but learn to play under Caryle. Get a top pick and go into next year strong. Kessel seems to be playing fine. He's like the only offensive player we have that's consistently playing. 
  4. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Considering Howson made it public after the deadline that it was Nash that asked for the trade and Toronto pick would be top five compared to NYR being bottom five, I don't think they laugh. 

    Who knew it would be a Canadians fan that trashed it…oh yes, I already called it.lol
  5. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    I don't mind trading Liles if we get something back we need more. To get Nash, I would move Schenn and Gunnar. Nash could be our next Sundin which we desperately need…Big, strong, talented and a leader.

  6. reinjosh says:

    Liles is here to teach Gardiner. Gardiner has been great but it would be a mistake to think he isn't done learning. No harm in having him learn from a guy like Liles and push himself to be better. We have a big need for the veteran leadership he brings anyways. 

    And I know I'm going to be the lone voice here with Kadri, but I think its going to be a mistake trading him. He's improved every time he's come up to the Leafs and trading him because he's "to small to truly help the Leafs" is an idiotic reason (sorry, I can't say it any other way). 
    You can't base a team solely on size. I know, I know, we get pushed around a lot. Yeah we do, and size is something we need but to toss aside enormous skill and talent simply because he's arbitrarily too small? Ludicrous. 
    I just can't justify trading him away because of that. That said, if we can trade him for a wing upgrade like Nash, then sure. But I'm sure as hell not trading him based solely on his size (which I might add, isn't exactly smurf size. He's not Tyler Ennis, in fact he's the same height as Frattin…). 
    And Ashton isn't NHL ready yet. He needs more time. I'd prefer to let him learn the scoring side of his game in the AHL on the top line then let him play third line NHL minutes. 
    Personally I'd like to Lupul and Kessel stay together. The chemistry is way to potent to break up. I also don't think Nash is a viable option. That price is retarded (the one Howson wants, not yours). I'd rather grab Brown or Clowe (he might be available if San Jose shits the bed and misses the playoffs). They will be undoubtedly cheaper too.
    Shift Kulemin to the third line. I think he's best suited for that now. An elite third liner who can score. Makes us really deep. Place Kadri with Grabo, and get Brown/Clowe on that line to open things up. Frattin, Kulemin and someone suited to a third line center role between them. Lupul/Kessel with a center (hopefully not Bozak lol). Three lines that have skill, size and grit on them. Three lines that can score. Then have the epic Brown/Steckel/Armstrong fourth line with Rosehill being the 13th man. 
  7. reinjosh says:

    I might question the leadership part. He's never really come across as a great leader to me. But I could be wrong. 

  8. lafleur10 says:

    no i'm not trashig it i'm just saying the blue jackets are asking the moon for nash,and they should he's a franchise player those guys don't grow on trees yeah i know the leafs pick will be a top 5 but the package you offered in your post isn't enough most teams would and could out bid that offer and will ! if howson was there alone and didn't have craig patrick their advising him maybe ,but with patrick their not a chance will they take that1 your package from the leafs will include gardiner,colbourne, bozak and your 1st that's what it'll take kadri is garbage and the leafs will have a hard time dealing him for anything of substance so he'll be a none starter for columbus

  9. toronto77 says:

    That is way too much for Nash. Boston received a 2nd, 9th and 32nd overall picks for Kessel and we are giving a former 5th, 7th and a potential 5th-10th for Nash!! plus Gunnarsson and MacArthur. Who's to say Nash is better than Kessel, they are two completely different forwards. Kessel may not have the size and physical presence that Nash has, but Nash does not have the speed and scoring touch that Kessel has. Never the less, the two would compliment each other very well on the top line. I do not believe the leafs will get him because Columbus may be looking for at least a goaltender to be coming back and we do not have any interesting ones to offer.

    If we acquire Nash then I guess we trade Lupul or demote him to the second line, which may not be too bad if you got Lupul-Grabo-Kulemin. And if we acquire Nash then we pretty much (like you stated) force Colborne into the no.1 centre roll because none are available as a UFA and we may not have any more assets to acquire one after the Nash trade.
    I know must of us would like to sign Harding this off-season(myself included) but I am know convinced that Lindback should be our no.1 priority.
  10. toronto77 says:

    Leafs just signed Brad Ross to an entry level contract. He is tearing it up in the WHL, and is exactly what we need right now, just kinda sucks that he may not be ready for a season or two. But no question that he will challenge Ashton for a roster spot next season as both players are pretty similar, bur more than likely Ashton makes the team and Ross spends one full season in the AHL before making the leafs.

    Now that he is signed, I guess he can now play with the marlies which is a very similar situation to Frattin and Gardiner last season. I would even call up Ross to play for the leafs for the rest of the season just to get some experience and than play in the playoffs for the marlies which would be a huge addition to their team. But have the leafs used all of their call ups now??? but even if Ross can't play with the leafs, playing with the marlies under Eakins will help him quite a bit, and helps the marlies towards the cup.
  11. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    I agree on Ashton, As I amended below my original post, I meant Frattin in that spot.
    Liles is fine, but I have no problem moving him for a more needed piece. I would disagree that Liles is here to teach Gardiner, since we acquired him before anyone new Gardiner was even going to make the team. Liles is here to be a veteran puck mover, but has some defensive liabilities, so I doubt he is here to teach Gardiner and I haven't heard much about Liles as a leader.

    As for Kadri, I watched him play live only a couple of weeks ago…he is small, and thin. He is also lazy without the puck. Yes, there is some offensive talent, but I did not see a guy who really even stood out in the AHL, nevermind the NHL.
    I don't see how it is idiotic to say he is too small to help the Leafs. We have tried small and fast…It doesn't work!!! Especially in the big, tough Eastern Conference. It would be "idiotic" to keep trying to do the same thing over and over again (small with finese and speed) and expect different results. (No offense, just doesn't make sense to build around the same type of players when it's proven not to work…look at Buffalo)

    Plus, I never suggested we base the team soley on size, so I don't know where you get that opinion from, otherwise I would have said that Kessel, Grabo, Brown, Gardiner, Bozak would also be available. I am suggesting we need a better mix.
    I am also not suggesting that the Nash trade would be the only move, there may be more needed, but if we want to compete against Boston, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, NYR, Philly etc. we need to be bigger and stronger. It's as simple as that and Nash would bring size and skill to our top 3. Do we likely land him? No, but we need him nonetheless, way more than a Kadri or Semin etc.

  12. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    The thing is, CBJ/Nash situation is not the same as prior to the deadline. If Nash decides to hold out and demand a trade, which could easily happen…they will wish they took NYR's deadline offer. What I suggested, could be the best they could possibly hope for, which I believe is fair either way.

  13. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    You hit dead-on why I would like to see Kessel and Nash together…two totally different skill sets that should work well together. I understand "the giving up" what looks like alot, but remember Nash is more proven than Kessel was at the time of Kessel's trade. Also, we would need to move salary to bring in Nash.
    I'm not sold on Lindback. Harding has been my choice for over a year and still is. He is used to playing 30 games a season already, where Lindback has barely played that in 2 seasons…I think we need more experience than that. IMO. Harding is hungry for a fair opportunity to be a number and Toronto could give him that.

  14. reinjosh says:

    Gotcha. Didn't see that. And I still think it helps to have a veteran presence for the puck movers. Not a big deal. if we trade him I won't lambast the deal.

    And differing opinions. I am by no means saying going completely small. I also don't want completely big. I think we need a mix. Small skill only works with big forwards. I don't think Kadri will help by himself. He needs to be place on a line with a big bodied player to protect him. Similar to the way Desharnais is playing so well in Montreal, its because he has big players protecting him. It can work.
  15. reinjosh says:

    He's not hungry enough. He's had plenty of opportunity to supplant Backstrom in Minnesota and every time he gets a shot, he vastly disappoints. He won't fix our goalie issues. 

  16. KingCanada says:

    Im pretty sure the Leafs dont have any callups left.  They played Franson at forward one night afterall haha.

    But ya that would be cool if they could call up both Ross and McKegg to play for the Marlies in the Calder Cup!

    Im actually looking forward to the Marlies post season and Im trying to get tickets lol.  Kadri, Colborne, Frattin, Gardiner, Ashton, Ross, McKegg, Crabb, Blacker, Holzer, Scrivens, Mueller, Deschamps ect!!  Not to mention vets Zigomanis, Hamilton, Dupuis…this could be the year?  It just seems like a deep roster for a AHL team!

  17. KingCanada says:

    Clearly the trade winds will be blowing this upcoming summer for Burke and the Leafs.  I really think Nash will be too expensive so going after other more affordable talent would be the best idea.

    Im not sure what Burke's opinion vs the public's opinion is in regards to Phil Kessel.  But if he IS being offered Id like to see something like this.

    To Pittsburgh: Phil Kessel
    To Toronto: Jordan Staal, 1st rounder

    Yes I know Pittsburgh probably doesnt need any help..since you dont fix what aint broke..  But I still think it would be an awesome fit.  Kessel playing along either Crosby or Malkin = 50 goal season…Just look at what Gino did with James Neal!  Toronto gets a much needed large 1st/2nd line center.

    Next I would dangle one of our defencemen.  One of Schenn, Franson or Gunnarson in the hopes of getting JVR, Clowe or Brown.  Not all those deals would be strait up but something along those lines.  Also try and give away Lombardi and Connolly to anyone for anything lol.

    Next you sign Zach Parise and IF POSSIBLE bury Komiserak to sign Ryan Suter (unlikely).  Team could look like this…

    Lupul, Staal, Parise
    MacArthur, Grabovski, JVR/Brown/Clowe
    Kulemin, Bozak, Frattin
    Brown, Steckel, Moen

    Phaneuf, Suter
    Gardiner, Schenn/Gunnar/Franson
    Liles, Schenn/Gunnar/Franson

    Goalie??  I dono but GET ONE!!  Reimer/Monster experiment failed…

    I think with the right pieces and some quality goaltending that this team could make some noise!  All these trades are hypethetical tho as I highly doubt Staal is available…and it would take quite a bit of clever accounting to get rid of Komiserak, Connolly and Lombardi…

    But hey, thats best case scenario, I wont get my hopes up!

  18. dumbassdoorman says:

    You forgot to tell Burke to draft well….lol…but I hear you, I think Staal is more avail then people think, though most are gonna say they wouldn't swap him for kessel straight up…lol…haters. I truly feel this could be Burkes last chance to save his job. He has stocked the pool with upcoming talent well, but our UFA signings have hurt us. There have also been some dandy trades, but new ownership is not going to wanna see a 3/4 empty building before the game is over@!!!!!!

  19. KingCanada says:

    People in general are just anti Leaf.  Somehow a 4-time 20 goal scorer's (potential 30) value will exceed a 4-time 30 goal scorer (potential 40).  Makes no sense but haters will hate my friend.

    And Id say the problem with the recent UFA periods is just that there isnt enough available talent therefor teams are obviously overpaying for the few that make it to UFA.  Burke being stubborn refuses and we dont get anyone worthy.

    Obviously Connolly was a mistake..but what other choice did he really have u know lol.  At least hes adept at ripping people off in trades!

  20. lafleur10 says:

    fair enough but whoever gets nash will pay a huge price more than they are probably willing to give up,however it wouldn't surprise me to see howson get fleeced!

  21. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    I agree on a good mix…that was my whole point.lol 

    Just to be clear, I am not suggesting we move all the guys on the "available" list, just that they could be available to acquire a more needed piece.
  22. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    If we were talking about an average goalie to supplant I would agree, but we are talking about backstrom here…who could supplant him? I. Am looking for a good solid goalie to help Reimer, but has the potential of being a number 1. I am not giving up on Reimer just yet, but as I felt we needed going into this year, we need a veteran to help that can carry the load if needed.

  23. reinjosh says:

    He's gone through injuries, he's gone through bad years. Harding had plenty of chances. I'm not willing to give him one on the Leafs. I'd rather fix it with an actual starter, one that has played like that before. Harding is not that. Harding is not that veteran in my opinion. 

  24. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Fair enough. Different opinions is what makes this site work:)

  25. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    I would do Kessel/Staal straight up, but I wouldn't add our first to get it done. Nothing against Kessel, but Staal fills a greater need right now, which is size with skill in the top 6.

    Say Kessel/Staal happened (hockey Lover will chime in for sure.LOL) I still like the idea of getting D.Brown if the price was right. How about Gunarsson and Ashton for Brown. Add a Moen/Laggenbrunner to the third line.

    It's not that hard to get Lombardi and Connolly off the books if Burke is willing to bury them in the minors for 1 year…but unfortunately, I doubt he will. I believe Finger comes off the books at the end of this year as well. If Burke buried Lombo and Connolly, move Bozak and promote Colborne, we would likely have cap room left over for whatever else…

    Kulimen Staal D.Brown
    Lupul Grabovski MacArthur
    (Moen?Armstrong)Colborne Frattin
    M.Brown Steckel Rosehill

    3 Big centremen, grit and some speed/(skill,finese), it's not bad.

    Can't wait for next year!LOL

  26. dumbassdoorman says:

    I am a fan of Ashtons and called for us to aquire him before, so I for one am against trading a big young power forward with decent hands.

  27. hockey_lover says:

    The problem with the deal is that … since Neal came into his own, Pittsburgh doesnt really need Kessel.  They got Geno who is good for 40+, Sid who is good for 40+ and Neal who is good for 35+.

    I break it down this way:

    Kessel:  elite goal scorer (35 – 40), PP dynomite, meh backchecker/defensive game

    Staal: decent goal scorer (20 – 25), meh PP player, excellent backchecker/defensive game

    So really, the difference of the 15 goals a year doesnt really give the Pens that much more. Staal obviously doesnt provide nearly the offense but his defensive game is way way better. Which, given the potent offense the pens already have, is more important.  So I see the deal as fair, it just doesnt make that much sense for the Pens. What the Pens needs are some cheaper options on D. Martin is NOT playing up to his contract (much like Komisarek). Thats $5mil that can be used elsewhere. We need to dump him and bring in one of the younger guys on an entry level, saving us $4mil. With the cap likely to go up about $2mil, that'll give us $6mil extra to resign guys or whatever.

  28. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Hey DA, I like Ashton, don't get me wrong and totally understand the caution of moving him, or a Colborne(for some), or Kadri (for others) . I like Ashton, Colborne, Frattin and the offensive up-side of Kadri as potential forwards.

    Problem I see, is that none of these guys are tearing it up in the pro's(AHL or NHL) in a way that makes me think we have top3 potential or maybe even top6 guys in our young depth pool. Colborne seems to be the closest to top 6 but I doubt he's legitimate top 3.

    We need more top 6 talent with size IMO and typically (obvious exceptions) if a player is a legitimate top 6 guy, he has shown it by the time he is 21 years old.

    I just think at some point we have to stop saying we have all these good "prospects" we aquired and be willing to part with one or more to get some proven available top 6 talent to compliment the finese style players we have.
    Unfortunately, we don't have 2 or 3 top 5 picks to build a team around like Pitt, Edmonton, NYI or Chicago etc, or else I would be all for letting it develop more.

    I get the "be patient with our young prospects" because they have some raw skills and I'm all for it, but if it means be patient so we can develop him into a great third liner…how do we ever improve the top 6? I think at some point, as we did to acquire Kessel, we need to consider moving some assets to get some much needed help.

  29. reinjosh says:

    Your way, way off base on Kadri. Way off base. And your idea that he has typically shown in by the time he is 21, is actually wrong…

  30. toronto77 says:

    to me the AHL is nothing but a beer league. I prefer the OHL over the AHL because the OHL is just like the NHL but a much younger version. AHL is a league that will lul you to sleep. Having said that, when young players are sent down to play in the AHL it's simply just to toughen you up. So players like Colborne, Frattin, Ashton, Kadri and D'Amigo not tearing it up isn't a bad thing.

    Tearing it up in the CHL or NCAA is good but it will not physically prepare you for the NHL. As young players get older they slowly develop the size and toughness needed to play in the NHL, that is why some players go from the CHL and NCAA straight into the NHL, much like Frattin did. if they are developing size and toughness slower than most average players than they are sent to the AHL that will ease them into the preparation for NHL toughness.
    The AHL only consists of 2 types of players.
    1. Players that will never make the NHL and/or bounce back and fourth from the AHL and playing on an NHL 4th line.  
    2. Young prospects just looking to add some toughness to help them adapt into the NHL.
  31. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    If I'm wrong, then show me, prove it. I've researched it.
    Typically a player who is top six talent(especially impact players like we need or as you suggest Kadri is) are either in the NHL or are top players in the minors by the time he is 21. I'm not talking about third or fourth liners, I'm talking about quality first and second liners. There is exceptions…St. Louis for instance. The majority are not lingering back and fourth between the show and the minors.
    Look at all the top young guys right now. How am I "actually wrong"?

    As far as Kadri goes, how can you say I'm way off base? He's done nothing so far. Only time will tell if I'm way off base…time may also show I'm dead-on. I admire your "Kadri Love-fest" but man, go watch him play live where you see what the cameras don't and also see how small compared to other guys he really is. He has always been rumoured to be a little lazy with an attitude problem…and that's what I saw.

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