The Toronto Maple Leafs have been linked to Dougie Hamilton a few times over the past week and change. We documented the history of the rumour in great deal the other day. In the Lou Lamoriello era, such speculation has been rare to the point of it feeling weird to see again, and today, we’ve seen a bit of pushback from the other side.
Brad Treliving talked to the media in Calgary today, and said that rumours that the team is looking into trading him are “completely false”. But Flames President of Hockey Operations and former Leafs GM Brian Burke doubled up on the situation this afternoon, venting his frustrations in the direction of Toronto radio.
Here’s his full rant on TSN 1050’s Leafs Lunch:
Let’s step back. This is one, where it’s very frustrating when you have to deal with leaks. Soon as one of the team is in the mix in the leaks is the Toronto Maple Leafs, it’s an army of leakers, an army of people who have no goddamn idea what they are talking about who will happily go on and say ‘The Toronto Maple Leafs are doing this, and they’re in on that’. This is one where we think we can trace the leak.
We got a call, our GM got a call, Brad Treliving is our GM. He got a call from a team, who shall remain nameless, at least for now, if this goes on much further I’m probably not going to remain nameless, and said ‘Would you move Dougie Hamilton?’ and Tre said no.
We expended a tremendous amount of assets to get this player. We’re really happy with him, he’s a quality guy. He’s 6’5, he weighs 237 pounds, he’s a right shot, he skates like a deer, he’s a good hockey player. Yeah, let’s move him! Let’s get rid of him! It’s not hard to get guys like that.
So we told this team, and by the way, the offer they made was insulting. We told the team ‘No we’re not moving him, and next time you have an idea that stupid, just save the quarter, don’t go to the payphone. That team started telling teams, ‘Yeah, we made an offer on Hamilton’. Now it’s a rumour, it’s got legs. Someone’s like, ‘Well, they must be moving him’
We haven’t offered him to anyone. We don’t intend to move him. If you’ve got the right offer, if someone offers us 20 1st round picks, are we making that deal? Probably, Wayne Gretzky got traded. But the difference between listening, listening attentively, and shopping are different things. Would we listen? Yes, it’s our job to listen. Is he a guy we intend to move? Not a chance. Is that a guy we think will move? Not a chance.
Needless to say, it doesn’t sound he’s very happy. Burke has always been prone to speak his mind, though, especially in a market where that was part of his job for several years.
Now, that doesn’t mean that this rumour is completely off the books. Keep in mind that this was how Marc Bergevin was reacting a week before trading PK Subban to Nashville:
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 23, 2016
If Burke were to openly admit that Hamilton was on the market, he’d be putting Treliving and his entire team in a state of weakness. While this could be a genuine rejection, this could also be a regaining of control. The Flames were put in the passenger seat as a result of all the gossip involving their own player, and that’s not a position to play from. Burke’s statement of a high, near-untouchable cost also works as a form of negotiation using public exposure. He didn’t completely rule out a move, but made it sound unlikely and one where a team would have to pay out the nose.
Remember that this is the same executive who tried to strong-arm the Islanders into trading him the first overall pick by openly declaring that he wanted to draft John Tavares. In that press conference, he even used the same “Wayne Gretzky got traded” quip as proof that the deal could, in theory, get done (it didn’t and the Leafs drafted Nazem Kadri).
Either way, I’m just curious which team threw out the insulting offer and what it may have been.