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the future

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Photo: Dave Abel/Toronto Sun

We’re ecstatic to welcome Jon Steitzer to the MLHS blogging team. He formerly blogged at Bloguin’s Leafs site Puckin’ Eh and now runs his own blog Yakov Mironov. He’s also a funny twitterer who can be followed here. With the introductions out of way, settle in for Jon’s in-depth look at the long-term sustainability of Burke’s team building.

I wrote the bulk of the post you are about to read shortly before the deadline. It is a call for building a roster that is sustainable in the long term in exchange for some short term pain. It was originally written at a time when the Leafs were just beginning their downward spiral that would ultimately consume all hope. A few of things came out of it.

The first was that the Leafs are not as far along as I may have originally hoped. The second is that an extended rebuild will not be tolerated, and a modest milestone of success (like, I dunno, making the playoffs for the first time since the lockout) must be achieved next season. Finally, this is now a team being built for Randy Carlyle, and with Carlyle’s philosophy being closely aligned with Burke’s there is a potential for finally achieving some synergy when it comes to team building.

While the short term goal of the playoffs must be achieved, the case must be made that long term sustainable success still has to be the priority of the Leafs front office. I have tried to write a blog post a number of times looking at what a successful long term plan would look like for the Leafs. I thought I would apply some principles from Workforce Planning which seems infinitely relevant as I can’t think of think of any other field that treats people more like commodities than professional sports. The goals I’m attempting to accomplish are to make sure we have a sustainable supply and demand model, proper development of employees, succession planning, and are putting people in a position where they can have the highest level of success all while balancing a labor budget.

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Photo: Mark Blinch/Reuters

How many notable Brian Burke quotes has he unleashed for our constant reiteration? Too many to count.

You have your pugnacity, testosterone, and truculent quote, which now might be the three worst words to utter in Toronto. You have your “top six and bottom six” quote. You have your “build from the net out” spiel or the “I don’t want to get into the first round just to get my ass kicked” declaration. There’s a whole host of other gems, complaints, theories, one-liners to come out of Burke’s mouth that are now used to mock him, to cheer him, to evaluate his roster, or as Twitter handles.

But what is often forgotten, and often left not discussed, is his core belief. His central theory to building a team, which is: