Leafs schedule “major announcement” for 1:45 p.m., so, yeah.— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) January 9, 2013
UPDATE: Wednesday, Jan. 9, 3:00 p.m. ET by Donald Wood
The Toronto Maple Leafs have released an official statement (via ESPN) about the dismissal of Brian Burke as the general manager and who the team hired as his replacement:
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Wednesday that David Nonis has been named to the role of Senior Vice-President and General Manager, effective immediately. Nonis becomes the 14th General Manager in franchise history, having previously served as Senior Vice-President of Hockey Operations since joining the club December 6, 2008. Brian Burke has been relieved of his duties as President and General Manager, but will stay on in a Senior Advisory role to MLSE President and C.O.O. Tom Anselmi and the MLSE Board of Directors.
---End of Update---
UPDATE: Wednesday, January 9 at 1:50 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp
According to Bob McKenzie of TSN, Burke will be replaced by Dave Nonis:
Dave Nonis is the next GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Unclear whether that is interim or unconditional appointment.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 9, 2013
Nonis appointment as GM and senior VP is not interim.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 9, 2013
However, Burke will remain with the Maple Leafs in a different capacity, as Kevin McGran of the Toronto Sun reports:
anselmi: burke will stay on as senior advisor— Kevin McGran (@kevin_mcgran) January 9, 2013
---End of Update---
Burke was hired by the Maple Leafs in November of 2008 to help turn around a franchise that had an amazing fanbase but lacked a real Stanley Cup-contending team. With the veteran executive’s success in Anaheim (won the Stanley Cup in the 2006-07 season), Toronto expected the same.
Since Burke took over as GM, the Maple Leafs have failed to reach the playoffs once and have not finished better than fourth in the Northeast Division. That is flat-out awful and unacceptable for a team with as much prestige as Toronto.
What It Means
The NHL is just a few days from opening the doors on training camp, and Burke's early removal is sure to rattle the cages of the returning players and coaches.
With the league’s season already shortened to 48 games by the lockout (h/t SI.com), the media chaos that usually surrounds the Maple Leafs will now will be through the roof.
The new GM in Toronto will face an unbelievably tough task.
There are many young players on the Maple Leafs that could be NHL stars in the future, but this is a roster capable of winning now.
If that means making a few trades that Burke was not willing to make, the new general manager should be looking to make a name for himself by being the man that finally brings a star goalie like Roberto Luongo to Toronto ( h/t TSN hockey analyst Bob McKenzie).
While possible replacement options will likely come to light after the official announcement of Burke’s dismissal is made, the Maple Leafs must act fast to find the team’s next GM.