Skip to content

Columnist: Lockout “could not have come at a better time for Burke”

Nov 29, 2012, 3:56 PM EDT

Image (1) brianburke-thumb-250x339-8181-thumb-250x339-8182.jpg for post 1686

Four years ago today, Brian Burke was named president and GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Suffice to say, things have not gone as planned.

With Burke in charge, the Leafs have failed to make the playoffs and are still without many of the aspects they were lacking before his much-ballyhooed arrival – most notably, a No. 1 center, reliable goaltending and, perhaps most galling, “proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence.”

With that in mind, the National Post’s Michael Traikos argues that the NHL lockout “could not have come at a better time for Burke.”

The longer it goes, the more time he buys. Prospects such as Morgan Rielly, Tyler Biggs and Stuart Percy might be one step closer to being NHL-ready. And salary-cap dead weights such as Tim Connolly (US$4.75-million) and Matthew Lombardi (US$3.5-million) would come off the books.

At the same time, Joffrey Lupul and Clarke MacArthur would also be free agents, but maybe that is not such a bad thing. Maybe the Leafs try to re-sign Lupul for less than his current US$4.25-million salary. And with another year in the minors under their belts, maybe Matt Frattin or Nazem Kadri simply takes MacArthur’s spot on the second line.

Or maybe Burke takes a look at what’s available in free agency. Last year’s crop of free agents were limited, but with teams unable to talk to their players during a lockout, there potentially could be more names on the market in 2013.

Would Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry reunite with Burke and head coach Randy Carlyle in Toronto? Would the Leafs take a run at Boston’s Nathan Horton, New Jersey’s Travis Zajac, San Jose’s Ryan Clowe or Florida’s Stephen Weiss?

Another summer also means Burke has another opportunity to hammer out a trade for Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo. Or maybe Burke signs free agent Tim Thomas, Niklas Backstrom or Mike Smith.

Many observers believe Burke will be fired if the Leafs miss the playoffs for a fifth straight time under his watch. And hey, you can’t be blamed for missing the playoffs if there aren’t any.

By that logic, Burke may indeed have a better shot of keeping his job if the NHL were to cancel the entire season.

Which somehow seems wrong.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Ballard, Leopold leaning towards retirement

    Aug 30, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Keith Ballard Keith Ballard

    Both blue liners are unrestricted free agents.

  2. Wild ’15-16 Outlook

    Aug 30, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Zach Parise Getty Images

    Can they take a step forward this season?

  3. Glencross regrets taking hometown discount

    Aug 29, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Curtis Glencross Getty Images

    He’s currently an unrestricted free agent.

  4. Under Pressure: Brandon Saad

    Aug 29, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Brandon Saad Getty Images

    Columbus bet heavily on him this summer.

  5. Poll: Will Columbus win its first playoff series?

    Aug 29, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    Ryan Johansen Getty Images

    Just making the postseason would be seen as a good season, but perhaps the Blue Jackets are in position to do more.

  6. Looking to make the leap: Sonny Milano

    Aug 29, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    Sonny Milano Getty Images

    This will be his first full season as a pro.

  7. Tributes pour in for Al Arbour

    Aug 29, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders Getty Images

    “We did lose a great man.”

  8. Blue Jackets ’15-16 Outlook

    Aug 29, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Scott Hartnell Getty Images

    The Blue Jackets have to hope for better health this season.

  9. It’s Columbus Blue Jackets day at PHT

    Aug 29, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Ryan Johansen AP

    Looking to bounce back after an injury-ravaged campaign.

  10. Calder runner-up Stone says injured wrist is ‘100 percent’

    Aug 28, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT

    150829_MarkStone Getty Images

    You know, the one injured on “that” slash from P.K. Subban.

  11. Pens sign prospect Sprong to entry-level deal

    Aug 28, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT

    2015 NHL Draft - Portraits 2015 NHL Draft - Portraits

    The club’s top pick at this year’s draft.

  12. Kings bringing veteran goalie Budaj to camp on PTO

    Aug 28, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT

    Peter Budaj Peter Budaj

    Former Avs and Habs goalie spent all of last year in the AHL.

  13. Detroit adds analytics specialist to front office

    Aug 28, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v Detroit Red Wings Getty Images

    Yet another NHL club hiring a fancy stats guy.

  14. Stars re-sign Eakin: four years, $15.4 million

    Aug 28, 2015, 3:55 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Dallas Stars Columbus Blue Jackets v Dallas Stars

    Scored a career-high 19 goals and 40 points last year.

  15. Sharks’ biggest question: Does DeBoer make a difference?

    Aug 28, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    San Jose Sharks Name Peter Deboer Head Coach Getty Images

    Former Panthers, Devils head coach takes over a team that “hit a little bit of a rut.”

  16. Looking to make the leap: Mirco Mueller

    Aug 28, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT

    Vancouver Canucks v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    After an up-and-down rookie year, he’s looking to solidify his spot.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1820)
  2. P. Kane (1348)
  3. P. Datsyuk (1192)
  4. S. Matthias (1150)
  5. M. Giordano (1050)