The Maple Leafs Continue To Be Built In Brian Burke's image
By Nathan Cole
It has been repeated emphatically and often by Brian Burke that he believes in building a team in a certain way, a group of talented, scoring top six forwards and a bottom six of gritty, hard-hitting checkers. Burke also believes in the importance of getting your goaltender situation figured out, then building up your blueline. Since he has already taken care of those two factors in the first season and a half, he is ready to work on the forward group until he gets it right.
His recent acquisition of Kris Versteeg from the Chicago Blackhawks is definitely a step in the right direction. Versteeg will fit nicely into a top six role, and since he is so versatile, he can play any of the forward positions. Burke traded Viktor Stalberg, Philip Paradis and Chris Didomenico for Versteeg and a talented young centre Bill Sweatt.
The signing of Colby Armstrong fulfills Burke's desire for a hard-checking agitator to slot into one of the bottom six positions. Or, in the case of injuries or prolonged slumps he can be moved up into the top two lines to work in the corners, be a strong forechecker and make room for forwards like Kessel and Bozak. (more....)