If the Toronto Maple Leafs fail to make the playoffs next season, the team must fire general manager Brian Burke.
Since becoming the GM of the Leafs in November of 2008, Burke has not delivered the results that fans expected after he helped build the Vancouver Canucks and, to an extent, the Anaheim Ducks into winning teams.
Burke has done very little in the NHL draft despite his team finishing near the bottom of the Eastern Conference throughout his tenure.
Other than the team's most recent first-round pick, defenseman Morgan Rielly, the Leafs don't have any of the top 30 prospects in hockey.
The Leafs are still without the number of top-end players needed to make the playoffs consistently. The team has gotten a bit better under Burke, but not enough for a GM of his caliber.
Even if Burke showed a willingness to make a major trade for a top line player, he probably doesn't have enough quality assets to acquire an elite forward.
Burke has also been unable to hit any home runs in free agency, and even though the summer of 2013 has a few franchise players expected to hit the market, what are the chances that Burke is successful in bringing one to Toronto?
Even though two of his former Ducks players, superstars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, could reach free agency on July 1, there is little chance that these two players will want to join the mess that Burke has created in Toronto. Not when they can make a lot of money for a contending team.
Burke's continued faith in goaltender James Reimer is also laughable. Reimer isn't a goalie capable of leading a team on a deep playoff run, yet Burke is willing to go into next season with him as the starter.
Not many general managers in sports go through five seasons where little progress is made in building a foundation for championship success and keep their jobs.
Burke should have one more year to prove that his plan is the right one for the Leafs, and if the team doesn't make enough progress playoffs in 2012-13, there's no reason to keep him for the rest of his contract.
Leafs fans are expecting new owners Bell and Rogers to hold people in the organization accountable, including Burke. If the Leafs do not make the playoffs next season, ownership needs to make a change and replace the general manager.