Brian Burke Is After Wingers: Or Is He?
After acquiring Brett Lebda, Brian Burke has emphatically stated that he does not care if a trade will or will not be made, he loves Brett Lebda for his playoff experience and the way he plays.
Burke also mentioned in that interview that he disagrees his team needs a centre. He is looking for a winger, a power forward to play with Phil Kessel. Is this a smokescreen? With Burke the answer is complicated.
See, he wants a power forward winger to play with Kessel, but since he values Tomas Kaberle so highly, he wouldn't mind upgrading his centres and his wingers. Perhaps Roy and Zack Kassian, or maybe just Patrick Sharp.
At the end of the day, his thought process makes sense. The Leafs have a bunch of small centres who have talent. The problem is that they have too many skill centres and not enough pluggers. We need bottom six centres not top six. Bozak, Grabovski, Mitchell, and Kadri are good enough as skill centres. Naturally, he wants a skilled winger to play with Kessel.
So what can Burke get for Kaberle? One offer that is allegedly on the table is Kaberle and a 4th round pick to Buffalo for Kassian and Roy. It's an interesting idea, after all Kaberle will probably sign an extension with Buffalo. This would be a good deal for both sides but I think it still tips in favour of Toronto, so I don't expect Buffalo to accept this.
Another offer would be if Burke can convince Anaheim to part with Bobby Ryan. One thing Burke has going for him is that with Scott Niedermayer retiring, Anaheim needs another solid defenceman to play with Visnovsky. As great as this trade would be, we would have to throw in prospects and I just don't see Burke being able to do this. Then again I never imagined Burke acquiring Phaneuf, so we'll see.
As for free agency all that's left is Frolov, Ponikarovsky, Kovalchuk, Torres, and a few others. The really good players are out of our price range because we lack the cap space, or they just want too much money and length on their contracts.
In conclusion, I fully expect Burke to acquire a solid top six winger and a prospect like Kassian who may be able to make the jump to the NHL soon. Don't expect Burke not to improve his centre corps, but keep in mind it is not his focus.
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