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Why The Toronto Maple Leafs Are Not Actually Re-Building

MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 26:  Brian Burke of the Toronto Maple Leafs photographed during the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft at the Bell Centre on June 26, 2009 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bleacher ReportAnalyst ISeptember 26, 2009

Brian Burke was hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs to help them re-build, or so we were told.


It looked as though when Cliff Fletcher was hired to be the interim GM for the Leafs they were finally going to re-build. However, ever since Brian Burke was hired to be the full-time general manager, it has seemed as though the plans have changed.


Instead of cleaning out the roster, stock-piling draft picks through trades and then using those to make good quality picks, Burke acquired nine new players in the off-season through both trade and the free agent market.


Only two of those players are under the age of 25.


To sign/trade for those players, he had to give up a large amount of cap space that could be used for signing even bigger named players that I am sure would love to play in Toronto once they start winning. He also traded away a total of three draft picks. That may not seem like a lot, until you put into consideration that those picks were two first rounder’s and a second rounder.


Those three picks that he traded away were traded inside the division (to the Boston Bruins), and in the same trade.


Moments after completing that trade, Burke and the Maple Leafs then signed Phil Kessel, the only thing they got in return, to a five year, $27 million contract.


I guess it is easy to see why Burke has always had troubles with the salary cap.


With all of that, the Maple Leafs now only have $612 000 to work with, and are not even a Stanley Cup contender. Is this a sign that once again they are just trying to fill the gaps?


If it is, then they should take a good look at what Chicago did. They suffered through years of terrible finishes, and now they are the talk of the NHL, aside from the Phoenix Coyotes.


The Maple Leafs better make the playoffs this season, or Brian Burke will be hearing about how they missed the postseason for a fifth straight year, for the next five years.


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