Maple Leafs Must Look Elsewhere For New GM

Derek HarmsworthSenior Writer IApril 23, 2008

At least we can thank Brian Burke for making this quick.  And letting us down easy.

After only a few days of speculation, Brian Burke ended all the talk he was heading to Toronto when he announced Wednesday night he was staying in Anaheim for the final year of his contract.

He also stated he will work this season on an extension to stay with the Ducks.

Some fans will be angry, disappointed, others maybe relieved.  But we certainly can't blame Burke.  After all, the only thing he is guilty of is being a loyal man.

He is loyal to the Samuelli's, who own the Anaheim Ducks.  It may not be a hockey first environment in Anaheim, but it is a win first mentality, something that still is not guaranteed in Toronto.

Burke was promised alot.  He was reportedly going to be offered upwards of $25 million.  He was reportedly going to be told that MLSE would find a job in the area for his wife, who is a newscaster.

But the lure was not enough.  The questions, and opinions will now begin as to whether or Burke simply felt he couldn't trust the situation in Toronto.

After all, everyone around the league bare witness to what Toronto did to John Ferguson.  They left him to dangle far too long, before dumping him aside, and throwing him under the bus in the process.

Then of course, there is the issue of "Full written autonomy" which has been one of the favourite phrases thrown around since the search for a new GM was announced.

People in MLSE call it a 'Colangelo' type deal.  Where a GM has full reign over the team, something no GM has had over the Leafs in a very long time.

There is a chance that Burke felt he simply couldn't trust the board to give him full control over the club.  

But at the end of the day, Brian Burke is a loyal man (after all he offered his friend, and former Canuck pal Todd Bertuzzi a $4 million dollar deal this past summer.)

It doesn't end there.  It really only begins.

The search will not intensify.  It now becomes more intriguing.  More dramatic.

There are still many qualified people out there.  Guys like former Dallas GM Doug Armstrong.  Or former New York Islanders Neil Smith. 

Smith was the general manager of the New York Rangers when they ended their 54 year Stanley Cup drought in 1994.  He also left the New York Islanders a few years back after he wasn't given full autonomy over the club.  Wang then hired perennial 'yes man' Garth Snow. 

What about Brian Burke's right hand man in Anaheim, David McNab?  Or David Conte, who has learned under the wing of one of the best, Lou Lamorillo.

Then of course, there is the candidates under contract.  People like Ken Holland and Jim Nill of Detroit. 

It would have been great for the club to grab Brian Burke, who is the brightest hockey mind around.

However, the fact that Burke is off the list could make it that much more interesting.

Buckle up Leafs Nation, this could get wild.