Cox reporting for the Star, says the deal is pretty much done:
“The wait is over. Brian Burke is set to become the new president and general manager of the Maple Leafs. With only a few final details to be sorted out, none of which are viewed as deal-breakers, the deal is all but done.
The former Anaheim GM was forwarded a “term sheet” by the Leafs over the past 24 hours, which included acceptable clauses on the length of contract and compensation.
Burke’s deal will include the rest of this season, then a five-year contract that kicks in next season. He made about $1.4 million managing the Ducks, and is expected to see his salary doubled in Toronto.”
Many of you already know my stance on Burke and the concern I expressed about the possibility that he may choose to speed up the rebuild process, but let me just clear the air by saying that he is an excellent hockey mind and a fine GM. It’s not his ability I’m afraid of, it’s his possible philsosophy, but if he comes in here with the intent to build this team and continue Fletcher’s work then fantastic.
My worries regarding Burke’s drafting and ability to build a young core were alleviated a litlte bit with this bit of news from the same article:
“Dave Nonis, the former Vancouver GM, is expected to be announced as a new member of the Leaf front office at the same time as Burke is introduced.”
Nonis is an excellent young hockey mind who during his 4 years as Vancouver GM drafted Schneider, Edler, Bourdon, Raymond, Grabner, and White; a solid group of young players despite the lack of high picks. In addition, what was most impressive (in my eyes) about his last few days in Vancouver and what may play a key role in Toronto’s rebuild was his unwillingness to part with his young talent. We all remember how much pressure he was under down the stretch to keep Luongo (whom he stole from Florida) and the fans happy by going out and acquiring some veteran help (Sundin?). Apparently his phone was ringing off the hook for the likes of Kesler, Edler, and Bourdon but he held strong and would not jeopardize the future of the franchise to save his own neck. I respect that a lot.
Burke as President and GM, along with two great young minds in Nonis and Nieuwendyk, and a Hall of Fame mentor in Fletcher is beginning to look a solid front office filled with experience and youthful promise.
And so begins the Burke era in Toronto.
Always a pleasure,