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Is Brian Burke eyeing another draft day blockbuster?

Jun 8, 2012, 12:30 PM EDT

Brian Burke

Yesterday, we spotlighted a pretty interesting interview an Edmonton Oilers blog did with Hockey Hall of Famer Igor Larionov.

Larionov, the agent representing OHL Sarnia draftees Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk, relayed some intel from Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, who holds the first overall pick in the upcoming draft.

From Oilers Nation:

Tambellini told me: ‘We like [Yakupov]. We want him. But we’re going to make a decision the day before the draft’. I also know the Habs want to get one of my guys – either Nail or Alex.

So do the Leafs. It is possible that the Leafs are going to trade their draft pick and get both of them. There is a possibility like that.

Nail and Alex went to New Jersey for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. After this they met Leafs GM Brian Burke.

The idea of Burke going after Yakupov and Galchenyuk will raise eyebrows. This is the same Burke, after all, that “hijacked” the 1999 draft to get both Daniel and Henrik Sedin into Canucks uniforms.

That deal is widely considered to be one of his savviest moves — if not the savviest — as a general manager.

Here’s the blow-by-blow from Sportsnet’s Mark Spector:

On the Sunday before the draft, [then-Chicago GM Bob] Murray and Burke finally reached an agreement: Vancouver would send defenceman Bryan McCabe and a first rounder in 2000 for the No. 4 selection in ’99. But Burke wouldn’t register that deal until draft day, so as not to tip off the other GMs on his plan to hijack the 1999 draft.

He then flipped that No. 4 pick and a pair of third-rounders for Tampa’s No. 1 overall pick and then – with the 1st and 3rd overall picks now in hand – Burke convinced Atlanta GM Don Waddell to accept the first overall selection for Vancouver’s No. 2, with Atlanta giving up a conditional third-rounder with the promise to lay off either of the Sedins.

The result? Atlanta took Patrick Stefan first overall, Burke took the Sedins at No. 2 and 3.

Thirteen years later, Burke comes into the 2012 draft in an eerily similar situation. He’s got the fifth overall pick rather than third, but is looking at a pair of talented teens (both Yakupov and Galchenyuk are 18) that are teammates and have an established chemistry playing together — a package deal, if you will.

That Tambellini said he’s going to wait until the day before the draft could suggest he’s waiting for a potential deal to come along. One interesting thing to note is that, while Burke had longed for the Sedins well before the ’99 Draft, the McCabe trade only occurred six days in advance.

  1. theawesomersfranchise - Jun 8, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Another year of the Clueless who has never won anything in his life except when someone else built it for him.

    Yes Please Burke, make some more decisions, all he does is make bad ones
    2nd worst GM in the NHL

    • govtminion - Jun 8, 2012 at 12:58 PM

      Only 2nd?

      • freneticgarfieldfan - Jun 8, 2012 at 1:08 PM

        fullack – he’s no. 1

      • contraryguy - Jun 8, 2012 at 2:07 PM

        Howson of the CBJ still holds the crown there, until proven otherwise.

        Doesn’t appear to be much chatter in local media about the CBJ 2nd overall pick going anywhere; they have the Kings pick (which may as well be a 2nd rounder now), could load up on late 1st – early 2nd choices, but will probably draft another Russian who doesn’t want to play here.

  2. jeffersonkostilnick - Jun 8, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Staal to Toronto

  3. bcisleman - Jun 8, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    How is it similar? The comparable player (to McCabe) here is Dion Phaneuf. Tamby might move the top pick for him BUT is Burke going to trade him? I think we all know the answer to that is no and there is no other player or prospect in the TOR system for whom Tamby would even consider giving up the #1. Also I do not see CBJ, MTL or NYI trading down w/ TOR.

    Assuming that there is any substance to Larionov’s comment on the TOR end, it bears an eery similarity not to 1999, but to 2009…when Burke did his best Big Bad Wolf imitation for TOR fans pretending that he would huff and puff and blow Garth’s doors down…and take the #1 pick w/out giving up serious assets in return. There was never any chance that was going to happen and, unless Burke is ready to move Phaneuf, there is no chance here either.

    • Mike Halford - Jun 8, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      Burke has assets — No. 5 this year, Kadri, Colborne, Gardiner and next year’s first-rounder.

      What I would suspect (totally hypothetical, but play along) is he could entice the Oilers to trade down — not out entirely — and then work with another team to acquire the pick to nab Galchenyuk.

      Again, just a hypothetical.

      • bcisleman - Jun 8, 2012 at 11:46 PM

        If Burke were willing to trade Gardiner (which I doubt), he might be able to trade the #5 pick up w/ anothe rsignificant asset thrown in. I can say w/ absolute certainty that, unless Burke is offering Kessel, Lupul or Phaneuf, Garth would not be interested. MTL would probably be no different.

        Doesn’t matter anyway. Burke would have to get CBJ’s #2 and, if I’m Howson, the only possible trade is Kessel for the pick and probably not even then. Bottom line is that, no matter which way Burke would go, Kessel, Phaneuf, Lupul and Gardiner are his four best and he’d have to give up two of them to make this work. I don’t see him doing that.

  4. bobhpine - Jun 8, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    How does this guy still have a job? Oh right, Burke went to Harvard…he’s sooooo smart…just smart enough to hold down that ninth spot in the eastern conference. For a trade to be a blockbuster, great players have to be involved… and since Toronto has zero great players, it’s just shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.

    At least Burke has such a winning personality.

  5. hsjdklsjds - Jun 8, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    You people are all dumb. Burke is one of the best GMs in the league. He has added more assets to his team than any other GM by far. He is definitely the best trader and garners respect from players across the league. He is a mediocre draft GM, but drafting is more luck than anything else. I wouldn’t expect NBC to have a plethora of real hockey fans, but still, even the people that don’t like Burke know he is a competent GM.

    • habsman - Jun 8, 2012 at 8:01 PM

      Peter Chiarelli agrees with you.

    • danphipps01 - Jun 8, 2012 at 10:37 PM

      That’s hilarious. His iteration of the Canucks did nothing special. His inherited Ducks did, but he did little to build that team. Toronto’s been consistently mediocre every year he’s been running the show and he’s been running a highlight reel of terrible decisions in the process. Nine million to Colby Armstrong, who so far has all of nine goals in seventy-nine games, including a spectacular one this season. $4.5m a year to Mike Komisarek for HALF A DECADE. And to top it all off, Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton and Jared Knight for Kessel and change.

      By all means, make your case for him not being one of the worst GMs in recent memory.

      • danphipps01 - Jun 8, 2012 at 10:39 PM

        Oh, and let’s add Connolly and Lombardi to that list of debacles while we’re at it. At least Phaneuf is passable. Two million dollars overpaid, but not as bad as half their other long-term contracts.

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