June 26, 1999: Brian Burke trades up in the draft just so he can get Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
July 27, 2009: Brian Burke signs rookie Jonas Gustavsson out of Sweden.
Yep, he definitely hates European hockey players, doesn't he?
I was being sarcastic.
Now that Dave Nonis has pulled himself out of the running to become the next general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and signed an extension with the Maple Leafs to stay on as Brain Burke's "right hand man," we now know for sure that the Maple Leafs have locked up one of the best combinations in hockey management.
This is the Maple Leafs' one-two punch.
When Burke left Anaheim and came to Toronto, he wanted to bring Dave Nonis, who was brought on in Anaheim, with him. This turned out to be what is now seemingly a very good decision, based on how well the young Leafs played closer to the end of the season.
Nonis, general manager of the AHL's Toronto Marlies and the Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations for the Maple Leafs, first began his managerial career in Vancouver, where he replaced Brian Burke as general manager after serving as Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations for the team under Burke.
Nonis is the one known for sending Todd Bertuzzi and others to Florida for Roberto Luongo and Lukas Krajicek. Nonis also re-signed the Sedin twins in 2006 to three-year, $10.75 million deals, keeping the brothers in Vancouver.
On April 14, 2008, Nonis was fired by the Canucks and was put out of work until Brian Burke offered him the role of Senior Adviser of Hockey Operations for the Anaheim Ducks. Burke left Anaheim on November 12, 2008 and officially became the President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Burke was then quick to sign Nonis, who joined the team on December 4, 2008.
Since Nonis came to Toronto, the two have made some very interesting, wise and risky transactions. Nonis had a massive part in bringing Luca Caputi to Toronto at the trade deadline since Brian Burke was gone to the United States following his son's unfortunate death.
Perhaps the best thing the two have done while together in Toronto is signing Jonas Gustavsson, Francois Beauchemin, and Mike Komisarek. Burke had gone off to Sweden to negotiate with The Monster, while Nonis stayed behind and locked up Beauchemin and Komisarek.
The two were also the people behind bringing Tyler Bozak, who scored 27 points in 37 games last season, to Toronto, as well as drafting Nazem Kadri and trading for Phil Kessel.
The Maple Leafs may not have done so well during the season, but their roster is full of talent, young and old, that could get the job done next year now that they all have experience in the NHL and with the Leafs.
With nearly eight years of service together, the Maple Leafs have one of the best combinations in hockey when it comes to management. Unfortunately, we will have to wait to see if their project will unfold nicely next season.
Nonis trades, Nonis and Burke history, Burke's draft and signings source: www.wikipedia.org
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