Brian Burke is finally taking the Toronto Maple Leafs in the right direction after years and years of mis-management and failed ownership involvement. He's assembled a great front office staff, including Dave Nonis and Cliff Fletcher, as well as luring legendary goalie guru Francois Allaire to Toronto.
His scouting department is still under judgement, as we won't really know how good they are until at least three to five years down the road when some prospects start to really develop into NHL talent or not.
Burkie has given this team something that they haven't had in a long, long time. He's given the team an identity, something the players can work towards, something his staff can use to determine which players work, and which do not. If you look at most of the good to great teams in the league, they all have an identity, whether its a style of play or a type of player they all have it.
Detroit goes for four-line rotation, skill over muscle and puck possession above all else. Washington, with help from Ovechkin and Co., is an all out offensive machine. Dallas is the blue- collared team in the league, valuing hard work and dedication.
All of these teams were given a direction by their GM. Because of this direction, the scouting department knows which kind of players to really target, because they know how to fit them into the system.
The coaches know how to structure their game plan based on the players and the system that they now have. Now granted, Wilson's success can be brought into question here. But let's be honest he has barely had any NHL level talent to work with all year. His aggressive fore-check and quick breakout schemes have brought a new life to the Leafs. Even if they haven't had the talent to capitalize on their chances.
But the biggest thing that Brian Burke has brought to the leafs is his willingness to take Risks. In less than seven months Burke has already brought in more high end "star" players than the leafs have had in five years. Getting Phaneuf and Giguere for Hagman and Co. was sheer brilliance and has given hope for the Leafs' future. Now the Kessel trade might not be quite as brilliant.
I personally don't agree with how much we gave up to get Kessel, two first rounders and a second round pick is a little steep for me. Part of me wishes we had given them our 2011 and 2012 first round picks, as both those years are comparably weaker than this years draft (and our bottom of the league finish).
However, Kessel is an elite player and once we find him a suitable play-making centre he will light the lamps 35-45+ times a season for us
But none the less, Burke has brought in sweeping change to the leafs. Something they have been sorely lacking in past years. With this belligerent Irishman to lead us, the future looks bright in Toronto.
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