Toronto Maple Leafs: GM Brian Burke in the Doghouse?
So finally the draft has come and gone for the year 2011. There was much anticipation heading into this year's draft when it comes to the Maple Leafs. The Leafs GM laid out his cards on the table and publicly stated what he was trying to accomplish, whether it be moving up to a higher draft selection or to wheel and deal to bring in some forward help.
Two hours or so before Friday's draft Brian Burke traded Boston's 2012 2nd round pick for Colorado's offensive defense-man John-Michael Liles. Now many will say that Toronto won this deal and not only do i agree but 95% of Avalanche fans believe so to. Some try to rationalize why their GM would take so little back for one of the top puck-moving d-man. So all in all it was a very promising start to this years draft.
Every Maple Leaf fan who was watching the draft was riddled with excitement most of the weeks ahead and very excited come 7 pm. As we watched patiently for something big or even something exciting to happen, we had to wait quite awhile.
The only move that had any weight to it was when Toronto traded our 2nd round pick along with Boston's 1st round pick (Both in this years draft) in exchange for Anaheim's 22nd overall. So now the leafs had #22 and #25. The Leafs used those picks to select RW Tyler Biggs, whose minimum potential is a less skilled version of Colby Armstrong and maximum potential would be Milan Lucic's mold. D-man Stuart Percy looks to be a two-way D-man with potential ranging from 6th to 3rd spots on the future Toronto D-man depth chart.
A lot of fans were in an outrage for trading that package so they could move up to select Biggs at 22 and Percy at 25. Many believe they could have taken Biggs and Percy at 25th and 30th. I understand where they are coming from, but the truth is the only reason Burke made that deal to move up is because another team was going to select Biggs. Other teams were calling the Ducks trying to get their 22nd overall. But in all reality Burke's relationship with the Ducks management team is what got Burke the pick and no other team. It was a steep price, don't get me wrong.
We all know that Burke hasn't had a good record of drafting when not in the top 10. But we have to admit that in the last two drafts before this one we got some quality prospects in Kadri, Blacker, D'Amigo, McKegg, and Ross. That's not that bad. This year Burke opted to go with the safe version in the late half of the 1st round. Picking Tyler Biggs and Stuart Percey are pretty safe choices as the will both more then likely make the NHL.
Before anyone thinks of these picks as a waste, you have to look at our prospect pool. Most of our good prospects we have are Skill/powerplay guys. This year we got 2 kids who will play on the penalty kill and have high hockey IQ. We cant just have goal scorers. We need work horses, people. Sure we don't need them now but in 3-4 years when they are ready we will most definately need them. Now we have a good mix of prospects. So all in all, id say it was a "smart and safe" first round but in the other rounds we won't know for a long while.
On a side note I must note that in order for us to get our top center, Burke will have to start trading with other teams. Burke's trading partners appear to be just Calgary,Boston and Anahiem. Now I know GM's have preferred partners but I think most GM's are scared to trade with Burke. That Colorado deal proves why.
Till Next Time!!
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