With the playoffs out of the picture, Toronto Maple Leafs fans have turned their focus to the offseason and have begun to wonder if GM Brian Burke is willing to stay the course.
Given the tumultuous breakdown that the Leafs have endured over the past few months, Burke will be going into this offseason with more pressure to improve his club than ever before.
Needless to say, his job can't afford another disappointing season come next year, which has fans worried that he will sell the farm for instant help.
Sure, Burke has said otherwise. On numerous occasions he has reaffirmed to fans that he is not interested in trading away the so-called "building blocks" that he has worked hard to put in place.
But let's be honest, Toronto's boss has severely overvalued the talent on his current roster. The "steel" going up is by no means as strong as he says it is, and the foundation—I’ll stop there before my anger gets the best of me.
Don't get me wrong, though. Burke is an extremely intelligent hockey mind and knows that his team lacks all the qualities necessary to become a contender in the immediate future. He'll just never admit it, because it would mean the guillotine if he did.
So, what does all this mean for the upcoming offeason? That's simple. Burke either stays the course or not.
If he chooses to stay the course, he will retain as much youth as he can and allow them (Nazem Kadri, Joe Colborne, Matt Frattin, Carter Ashton, Korbinian Holzer, etc.) full opportunity to flourish next season as part of the big club.
Should Burke be fired this offseason?
His other option is to package some of the aforementioned names together with select names from his current roster in an attempt to land one or two significant upgrades—because truthfully, the players on his current roster will not be able to garner much value in return.
I for one would prefer Burke choose the first option, even if it means potentially missing the playoffs next season. But because his job is on the line, the chances of that happening are slim at best.
Unfortunately, Leafs fans may have to sit back and watch as the future of their team gets traded away by a GM whose main concern is his own job security—when it should be the future of the team he manages.
What say you? Will Burke push the panic button this offseason?
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