Perspective on the Burke Era

That didn’t take long did it? Paul Hunter and the brains at the headline writing desk at the Star did some homework and actually spend some time researching Brian Burke’s draft history while at the helm of the Vancouver Canucks. As the old latin saying Res ipsa loquitur goes, his record speaks for itself:

“Burke’s ‘Nucks made 18 picks over two drafts in 2000 and 2002 and came up with exactly zero players who proved to be legitimate prospects. Those 18 players went on to combine for a mere 31 NHL games over their careers. Heck, Carlo Colaiacovo plays almost that many in one season.”

Let’s get a few things clear right from the get go. He owns that distinction. He was the GM, they were his picks and he takes the blame. Having said that we all know the difficulty in grading the NHL draft, unlike the NBA or NFL the NHL draft is a total crapshoot. Also, most GM’s don’t see much of the players being picked, they rely on their staffs. The one thing everyone has said about Burke is that he allows his people to do their jobs. Remember though the buck stops at the GM’s desk.

“Burke’s draft day work hasn’t been all terrible. While he hasn’t historically done well at mining the depths of the draft – those later rounds when some teams unearth gems – the new Leaf GM has shown himself to be a master of aggressively working the draft floor to get a prospect he covets. While with Hartford in 1993, he and his staff identified gangly defenceman Chris Pronger as that year’s must-have junior. With a sixth-round pick, however, Burke realized he didn’t have a chance at the impressive Peterborough Petes’ product. So Burke traded his top three picks along with future considerations (Sergei Makarov) to San Jose to move up into the two hole and grab Pronger. Despite not picking again until 72nd after that trade, Burke had perhaps his best draft, following the selection of Pronger by drafting Marek Malik, Nolan Pratt and Manny Legace.”

Funny how that type of analysis goes near the bottom of the story… Must be those damn headline writers at the Star again….

“Burke pulled off a similar coup in 1999 when, determined to keep the Swedish Sedin twins together with Vancouver, he worked the draft floor like he was playing a game of chess. He had the third pick overall but completed three separate deals – one that had him briefly holding the No. 1 pick – until he had the second and third selections, which he used to get the twins. Apparently spent by those machinations, they were the only two future NHLers the Canucks would draft that spring.”

The reality is there are but two ways of looking at the world The cup is either half empty or half full. As the Burke era begins, each of us will have to decide which way we go with respect to the Brian Burke era. I don’t think anyone should look at any one of his last positions as that much of an indicator of his future performance. Each job presents its own scenario, complete with their own challenges and goals. I would think that coming to the Leafs as Burke does know presents the artist with as clean a canvas as a GM could want. The current roster isn’t perfect or even very good (if it were would Burke be coming?) so I am sure the one thing that would make the job more ideal is there were a few more A level prospects. other then that what more could a GM want? All the resources he could ever want. He will be able to hire whom he wants, add scouts, coaches etc. Make whatever deals he wants. Buy out whichever Blakes he wants, I mean players. A starving fan base that will tread on every move, every step he takes. The guy has landed in hockey heaven. The only downside is having to deal with the dipsticks in the toronto media he will have to deal with on a regular basis.

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