Burke Must Avoid Fletcher's Mistakes a Year Ago

Dave McCarthyCorrespondent IFebruary 6, 2009

Heard On Episode 4.21 of A Foot In The Crease

With the NHL’s Trade Deadline less than a month away, Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke is going to have to face a number of questions regarding personnel on the roster right now that have been being asked even before he took over the job. This trade deadline represents a crossroads for the Maple Leafs that is simply far too important for the future of the franchise for the right things not to be done.

A year ago, a number of inconsequential trades were made by Cliff Fletcher but the real opportunities he had to significantly help the Maple Leafs improve in a shorter amount of time—Tomas Kaberle, Pavel Kubina, Bryan McCabe, Darcy Tucker, and Mats Sundin—were unable to be moved.

When you hear of some of the deals available for Kaberle that were left on the table—Bobby Ryan and a first round pick from Anaheim or Jeff Carter and a first round pick from Philadelphia—one only begins to wonder what if. If similar scenarios come across Brian Burke’s desk this trade deadline, he cannot afford not to get those deals done.

Burke has already said when he is a seller; he likes to wait as close to the deadline as possible as the closer you wait, the higher the return you often receive.

Nik Antropov, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Jason Blake, Pavel Kubina, and Tomas Kaberle are prime candidates to be on the move. But don’t be surprised though if lesser thought of targets such as Dominic Moore, Niklas Hagman, or Jeff Finger get included in transactions as well if general managers of contending teams are looking for a little bit more depth.

One thing is for sure though, by the day after the trade deadline, if the future of the Maple Leafs is to be a positive one, the current state of the roster will have to look much different. But hey, all that was just rigamarole.