Welcome to this week's edition of Bleeding Blue and White.
In case you were stranded on a desert island this past weekend, Tomas Kaberle is still a Toronto Maple Leaf. While many in Leafs Nation found this to be a dreadful, gut-wrenching surprise, I always understood that Kaberle would most likely remain a Leaf (if you don't believe me, read my past columns).
To my surprise, on Monday morning it appeared as if Kaberle had triggered a series of events leading to the destruction of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kaberle started the downward spiral by not going out and seeking his own trades to get Leafs Nation the biggest return possible (see: Ryan, Bobby).
The constant need to have someone on the headman's block is a very big problem for Leafs Nation. The two newest heads on the block being Luke Schenn and Francois Beauchemin.
Schenn is a very promising young defenseman, while Beauchemin is a veteran presence whose trade value is at its worst after an off year.
Not exactly two pieces of the puzzle you want on the market.
In a recent Steve Simmons article in the Toronto Sun, Burke has some very good reasons for Leafs fans to be optimistic. From January 31st (the day the Leafs traded for Jean Sebastien Giguere and Dion Phaneuf), the Leafs had the seventh-best record in the east.
Luke Schenn also had a coming out party after the arrival of Phaneuf and was the Leafs best defenseman, according to Burke.
In addition, Schenn has bulked up to 235 lbs. in the off-season to add more power to his already dominant presence on the ice. Look for Schenn to improve upon his sophomore season that saw him post career highs in goals, points and plus/minus.
If you look at the team from January 31st to now, Burke has only added more pieces to the puzzle.
Acquiring Kris Versteeg and signing Colby Armstrong, the Leafs have significantly upgraded their forwards while losing only Viktor Stalberg. Add in the grit acquisition of Mike Brown for a late-round draft pick and the Leafs' forwards should be even stronger.
On defense, the Leafs find Mike Komisarek coming back rested from shoulder surgery and depth with defenseman Brett Lebda. Meanwhile, the goaltenders who finished off the year very hot are both signed and ready to go.
Burke has done nothing but add quality pieces to mold the Leafs in his image.
So if the Leafs were good enough to finish seventh from January 31st onward, wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that with Burke's new addition they should be able to stay there?
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