Leaf fans are getting impatiant and want Burke to make a deal or two
Apart from the impossibility of the trade deadline and July 1 being the day that “most mistakes are made”, one is left to wonder exactly when Burke feels is the right time to build a hockey club. Those are two fairly significant occasions to ‘X’ off the calendar. Of course, Burke’s comments aren’t inaccurate. Few GMs in the post-lockout era can speak with such first-hand authority about wasting time and money in the aftermath of July 1 (Mike Komisarek, Francois Beauchemin, Colton Orr, Jonas Gustavsson, Ricard Wallin, Colby Armstrong, Brett Lebda, Tim Connolly, Philippe Dupuis). Fortunately for fans of the Maple Leafs, Burke was able to parlay one of the above-mentioned mistakes into a windfall on the trade front – pilfering his former team of Joffrey Lupul and Jake Gardiner for Beauchemin. It could, in fact, rank as one of the best deals any GM has made in recent years.
Otherwise, it is way too convenient for Burke to pontificate about the perils of the trade deadline and unrestricted free agency. The reason there are no significant deals for the Leafs to make at the end of February – and that no elite player will listen to Burke after July 1 – is simple: His effort to fast-track the Blue and White into playoff contention failed. Leafs are – by practically any measure – the worst team in the post-lockout NHL. As a result, Burke’s “I-have-no-patience-for-a-five-year-plan” has very likely put the Leafs in a ten-year plan. The Phil Kessel trade, by itself, proved Burke’s initial claim and has severely weakened any subsequent attempt to tell the world how invaluable first-round draft picks really are.