Why This is a Make or Break Season for Leafs GM Brian Burke
This is it for Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke.
Years of disappointment, heartbreak and upsets have defined the Burke era in Toronto. With the lack of success, many fans find themselves calling for his job. Even the media have joined in on what some would call “hate,” which even led Burke to hang up on one radio host back in March.
Various factors contribute to the commotion over Burke’s position with the Leafs, not just the fact that the team has yet to make the playoffs under his watch. One of those is his inability to draw in the big-name players.
Various marquee forwards and defencemen have hit the open market since Burke joined the Leafs in 2009. Most notably are Brad Richards, Ryan Suter, Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk, non of whom Burke was able to land.
You could also look to the trade market, where you would see Rick Nash, now a New York Ranger. There are also Roberto Luongo and Bobby Ryan, although neither have been traded at all. Still, it is believed that the Leafs are not in the running.
This is something that many expected Burke to do in Toronto. Despite years of losing, there is still something about the city that makes people want to play for the Maple Leafs. Perhaps it is the history, or maybe just the size of the market. Which of those two it is doesn’t really matter since Burke hasn’t successfully used either, or anything else for that matter, to his advantage in contract negotiations with major free agents.