Brian Burke was brought in to build the Toronto Maple Leafs into a Stanley Cup contender.
How has he progressed?
What pieces do we still need?
And how many decades will this 7-game losing streak set us back?? (spoiler: None)
To quote Conan: Be cool my babies!
Let's look at a position by position breakdown, and see where we are along the road. (Line definitions based on '67 Sound's excellent reference piece). By this I mean, if the Leafs are hoping to win a cup in the next 5 years, what pieces are already visibly in place?
First Scoring Line - F:
C: -- Position Vacant --
RW: Phil Kessel (23)
LW: -- Position Vacant --
On the Forwards: Kulemin could maybe be bumped up to the first line in the Chris Kunitz kind of role (first forechecker). We still need a top centre. We still need another scoring winger (F or S line).
On the Defence: Looking good here, hopefully Keith Aulie will be ready to replace Komisarek along the way. If the Wookie is the shutdown man on the 2nd pairing, then they would still need a crisp puck-mover to clear the puck once Aulie separates it from the opposition (along with their heads).
On the Goalies: If the last Cup finalists rode Niemi & Leighton, Fleury & Osgood x2, Giguere & Emery, and Ward & Roloson to make it there, then I'm guessing that Gustavsson or one of their other prospects is probably good enough. Whether one of them could consistently win 4 out of 7 is entirely unknown...
So tell me why last season's record, this season's record, or next season's record has any bearing on the rebuild that Brian Burke is trying to undertake?
His job as GM is to mould this team into a worthwhile competitor. The next step to me is to acquire the hardest piece possible - a #1 centre. After that is a second scoring winger.
If he can fill those two giant holes on the top line, then he will have done his job as GM, the rest is mostly patchwork fill-ins. The wins and losses along the way don't mean a whole lot if he can deliver at least one of these pieces before August 2011.