Trade for Tim Thomas, and other helpful tips from ESPN

Guys, Brian Burke isn’t perfect. Well, he’s far from it. In fact, he’s been pretty mediocre during his tenure in Toronto and he’d be the first to tell you that. But I think the moves he’s made this summer—trading for James van Riemsdyk, signing Jay McClement, getting rid of Luke Schenn and Colby Armstrong—are signs of progress and that he’s at least recognizing deficiencies.

Anyway, here are some helpful tips for Brian Burke from writers Tim Boughton, Paul Grant and David Walter. They are really quite something. Here are a few of my favourites:

2. Use your calculator: This is simple. You are in charge of a big-market club — you have lots money — so trade for Tim Thomas’ cap space. Trade draft picks to get him. Also: A club with money can overpay for players from a league like the KHL with no problem. Let those leagues develop the players and then steal them away. Manchester United didn’t develop Wayne Rooney, they bought him from Everton.

This is so bad even @AskBrianBurke has trouble wrapping his head around it.

The Leafs have lots of money, yes. They have lots of cap space, for now, yes. No, they do not need a year of Tim Thomas, and Tim Thomas doesn’t need a year of the Toronto Maple Leafs. As for letting players develop in the KHL, well, I guess Mr. Boughton does not know how hockey’s developmental system works. You don’t bring players up through your own system, you let other, dedicated junior clubs, develop talent and once they’re ready.

You know, players like Carl Gunnarsson, Jake Gardiner, Tyler Bozak, Nikolai Kulemin, Nazem Kadri, Matt Frattin… even Mikhail Grabovski and Phil Kessel weren’t developed by the Leafs before they “bought” them.

3. Rescind Freedom 35: Even though the Trailer Park Boys attempted to make the retirement age 35, it didn’t go into law. Enough with the youth movement; you need to make it deep in the playoffs NOW. Bring in big-name, high-risk veterans. You’ve got nothing to lose. (It worked in Anaheim.) Why weren’t you in the Jaromir Jagr market, what about Shane Doan? Plenty of guys have one good year left. Extra cap space (see item 2) will allow for a big-risk signing.

I’ve always thought that what the Leafs needed most at this point was overpaid wingers.

Now, there was one player who was over the age of 35 on Anaheim’s Stanley Cup-winning roster: Teemu Selanne. Scott Niedermayer was 34 and won the Conn Smythe while Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry helped carry the load offensively.

6. Stay golden: Let’s face it, you are going to have to trade for Roberto Luongo. He might be at the fringe of his prime, but he is Canada’s golden boy, and I don’t think the fans will come down too hard on you for bringing him to Toronto. The media might, but, whatever, they already nitpick every move you make. And if Luongo fails, you will be fired, so you don’t need to be afraid of his 10-year contract if you are going to last another two.

This is actually some strong logic. Brian Burke ought to trade for Roberto Luongo, but it isn’t wise for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Lucky for Leafs fans, I really do think Burke is more interested in the Leafs than he is in Brian Burke.

Next up is David Walton, and he has one original viewpoint beyond fire the coach/trade for a goalie, etc, and here it is:

3. Trade Dion Phaneuf. I’ve never been a fan of Phaneuf’s, and I know Paul just started crying because of his man-crush on the Leafs captain. But I think in doing so, you could fill some of the remaining holes on this team and turn it into a contender.

Yes, that makes sense. You have a team with minimal quality defencemen, and it makes sense to trade the best one. You can’t just trade good players for the hopes that the question marks will get will develop into good players. With any luck, the Leafs would trade Phaneuf for a defensive prospect who will be as good as Dion Phaneuf is, but it would take about four or five years. What is the point?

Here is Paul Grant now, with absurd visions:

2. Don’t overpay: The problem with many Leafs signings is that the players were paid way too much. Once they got into the media miasma, the players got so distracted by the attention, fame and fortune lavished upon them that they forgot about the task at hand. That’s why you need to enforce the hometown discount. Bring in area guys who would play for less — or at least a cap-friendly amount — are accustomed to the market and don’t get dazzled by the bright lights. Guys from Southern Ontario: Joe Thornton, Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty, Bryan Allen, Dennis Wideman, Kyle Quincey, Corey Perry, Mike Fisher, Adam Henrique, Shawn Thornton, Matt Cooke. All shapes, sizes and roles. Surely a couple of those guys would sign on and be effective.

Don’t overpay, therefore bring in players like Joe Thornton, Dennis Wideman, Corey Perry, Mike Fisher and… wait, how did Shawn Thornton and Matt Cooke get wrapped into a line with a lot of good players in it? And why must good players be restricted to Southern Ontario?

Unfortunately, these guys are not available right now. Perry is an intriguing option at the end of the season, and Carter was twice an intriguing option at some point, but this list just isn’t practical. I also think Burke ought to bring in British Columbian players like Jamie Benn, Shea Weber, Milan Lucic, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Carey Price and Brent Seabrook.

It just doesn’t make any practical sense.

Anyway, maybe people would stop making fun of the hockey media if they’d stop posting stupid filler content online.

  • Danny Gray

    “Lucky for Leafs fans, I really do think Burke is more interested in the Leafs than he is in Brian Burke.”

    Despite everything that’s happened I do still believe that Burke cares more about building a winning team than his short-term job stability.

  • why did he sneak Bryan Allen in there?

    And I may not be a “professional media talking guy”, but at least I know Henrique & Doughty can’t/won’t be going anywhere for a long time.

    Might as well have listed Crosby, Ovechkin, and Toews – they are all NHL players too!!