Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke Still Keeping Busy
Brian Burke is still keeping busy these days, among the most important deals that he could do is to make sure his right hand in the form of Dave Nonis is still with the organization through the 2011-2012 seasons.
We all know that Nonis was one of the front runners for the GM job in Tampa but to be honest probably would have his pick of several jobs if he was on the market.
The question on every ones mind is why did he stay? Nonis listed three reasons for his decision.
“This is an excellent situation for my wife and my family. We’ve had a very productive year and a half. Second is the job itself. I have a lot of responsibility which I really enjoy. Third, I hate leaving something undone. We’ve made some real progress. We don’t kid ourselves, there is still lots to be done, but I learned in Vancouver how satisfying it was to see the things you worked on come together."
That's not to say Nonis won't won't still want to GM somewhere again,
“Will I want to do it? The answer is yes. I would like to grab the reins firmly myself, but one thing that I have learned is the importance of working for an Original Six team. You are seeing it with Montreal right now, the history that surrounds the team and the depth of interest not just in the city but around the country.”
Until 2012 at least Brian Burke will have quite an ace up his sleeve, Nonis was also instrumental in developing the collective bargaining agreement in 1994.
Brian Burke and the Leafs are still looking at a number of pieces to the ongoing puzzle that is the Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club.
Currently looking at 24 year old center Roman Cervenka who is playing for the Czech Republic at the World Hockey Championship, Nonis was asked if the Leafs would be in the hunt for any free agents on July 1st.
"We'll be busy, and I think we can add some pieces that can help us," he said. "But I think the bigger pieces are probably going to come through trades. We just have to be patient."
The Leafs still have a few free agents to come to terms with. Most of which will not return next season but it is expected that 23 year old Nikolai Kulemin will be locked up long term.
The jury is still out on Toomas Kaberle although the smart money is on his not returning and being traded. Brian Burke is on record as saying that he is willing to talk contract extension with Kaberle, but you can be sure if there is an extension, there won't be a no trade clause.
One of about a million scenarios floating around out there involving Kaberle being traded would see the veteran defense man shipped off to Atlanta for right winger Colby Armstrong.
There are literally dozens of opinions regarding a Kaberle trade. I think that his value was diminished when his playing time was cut this season by coach Ron Wilson.
On one hand that will serve the Leafs and Brian Burke well if they're going to talk contract extension. On the other hand though, it diminishes his trade value. The smart thing to do would be to sign him to an extension for around the same money and trade him at the deadline next season when teams may give a little more to get them into the post season or better their position.
Either way, this team will undergo more of a face lift this off season and what Burke and Nonis have up their collective sleeve will be anyones guess until it actually happens.