Brian Burke was the GM for last year's Stanley Cup champion Ducks. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
If it is true the GM’s job with the Toronto Maple Leafs is Brian Burke’s for the asking, he would be nuts not to take it.
Burke is already one of the most celebrated men in hockey, having brought the Stanley Cup to Anaheim last season in only his second with the team. Can you imagine how high his stock would rise if he became the first GM to bring a Cup to Toronto since 1967?
Instant Hall of Fame.
Burke is absolutely the right man for the job in Toronto. Starting with his track record for building strong teams – the Vancouver Canucks have not been the same since he left and you already know about the Ducks – Burke has both the experience and moxy to succeed in the toughest job in all of hockey.
On top of that, Burke could command a whopping salary from the Leafs – probably in the $4 million-a-year range – and the team would jump at it. Not only that, he could command the same type of no-interference deal Bryan Colangelo apparently has to run the Toronto Raptors. In other words, Richard Peddie and Larry Tanenbaum would have to curb their interfering ways.
Some might suggest paying a GM $4 million per year is outlandish. It is not. The salary cap has only managed to deepen the pockets of the NHL’s richest teams and while there is a limit on what a team can spend on players, there is no limit on how much it can spend on managers, coaches, scouts, etc. Paying Burke top bucks would be money well spent for an organization currently adrift at sea, with no signs of a plan to make life better.
There are other GMs currently employed by NHL teams who could also come to town and might do a good job – the likes of Detroit’s Ken Holland and Montreal’s Bob Gainey immediately spring to mind – but the hiring of Burke should be the team’s top priority.
He gets very quick results.
Mike Brophy, the co-author of the book Walking with Legends, is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor on THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and his column, Double OT, appears Wednesday.
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