Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, ridiculed in some circles, heralded in others, after the way the Tomas Kaberle deal went down, has not been hiding in the shadows after his inability, or unwillingness, to trade the Czech born blue liner. Â Burke spoke to the media yesterday and made a variety of statements that should peak the interest of Leafs Nation.
–After telling the Toronto media he wasn’t ever really close to getting a deal he liked for Kaberle, Burke admitted he will sit down with Kaberle’s agent Rick Curran to discuss a possible extension. Â These discussions will, of course, be certainly interesting, what with the way Kaberle has been treated by the Toronto media, and also with the slight war or words had between Burke and Curran about a week prior to the no trade deadline.
–Burke also said that he remains committed to not asking a player with a no trade clause to waive during the regular season. Â He did point out that if Kaberle and his agent were to approach the GM with a list of potential teams he would allow a trade to, then it would be a different scenario.
–Burke made comments praising the defense of the Toronto Maple Leafs, telling the media he felt they were as good as any team when they are paired together in a group. Â He also pointed out that he expects big things from third year player Luke Schenn, who has bulked up to a rather scary 235 pounds.
–Burke stated that Carl Gunnarsson is among the players he enjoyed watching last year, and expects more from in 2010-2011. Â He also spoke out the likelihood of sending a one way contract to the minors, and while he wasn’t asked about Jeff Finger, and didn’t mention him throughout the interview, one could only assume Finger will be moved to the Toronto Marlies come October.
–He spoke about the possibility of still working on other deals that came about from the Tomas Kaberle speculation (but deals that did not include Kaberle himself.)
–He spoke very highly of Marcel Mueller and said he has the talent to be a top six forward, but he wasn’t quite there yet. Â He also praised the German leagues and said they will likely soon become a strong resource for many teams.
–Burke didn’t mince words when addressing the Bill Sweatt situation. Â Burke said he spoke with Sweatt’s representation prior to the deal being made with the Blackhawks, and at that point the agent let it be known that a deal between Sweatt and the Leafs could likely be worked out. Â After Burke pulled the trigger on the deal, he claims the agent then upped his demands, leading to a breakdown in discussion, and Sweatt subsequently becoming a free agent.
–He spoke about how impressed he has been with Nazem Kadri, who has bulked up significantly from the previous season. Â He stated that Kadri looked good in orientation camp, but it will still be up to him whether he starts this season in the NHL, or the AHL.
–Burke spoke about the possibility of adding other free agents, and spoke of the team’s cap management, claiming that it was a “big advantage” to be half way through August will still a considerable amount of money to spend.
–He confided that the organization was looking for at least a 60 point effort from Mikhail Grabovski this upcoming season.
–He also said that the decision for Jerry D’Amigo to leave RPI and join the Maple Leafs organization early was completely made by Jerry.