The Disturbing Parallels of Briyan Burkeangelo

Hello everyone, my very first FanPost on Pension Plan Puppets.

Forgive me if there is already a post dealing with this topic (please provide the link(s) so I can read up. Anyway, about a week ago, I replied to @Not So Friendly Stranger over at Raptors HQ where I compared the two GMs and the eerily similar situations surrounding them. I thought about this due to the bad situations of both Toronto teams. Anyway, here is what I had to say:

I can do better than that
"Kessel = Bargnani. An unwillingness to accept that mistake will continually haunt them."


Burke = Colangelo.

Both were successful before arriving in Toronto;
Burke rebuilds the Vancouver Canucks by drafting the Sedin Twins, Kevin Bieksa, and Ryan Kesler, then he goes to Anaheim and retools the defence by acquiring Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer. Anaheim Ducks win Stanley Cup in two years while the Canucks are class of the NHL with the core four listed above.

Bryan Colangelo was with the Phoenix Suns for 15 years. During those years the Suns managed to win 50 games or more 10 times. Two of those seasons saw the suns win 60 games or more. He drafted Michael Finley, Steve Nash, Shawn Marion, Amar’e Stoudemire. He’s made notable moves that worked great for him, like trading Steve Nash for three players and a future first round pick that he used to draft Shawn Marion. He traded for ailing Anfernee Hardaway under Jason Kidd’s wishes. That experiment failed, Hardaway was dealt, he dealt Kidd to New Jersey for Stephon Marbury (arguably his worst move in his Suns tenure). The Suns declined, but landed the #9 pick to draft Amar’e Stoudemire. Two years later, he drafts Luol Deng and immediately trades him to Chicago for cash which he uses to sign Steve Nash. The Suns have won 50+ games twice and 61 games once after he resigned the Suns to join the Raptors.

Both GMs are hired by two Toronto sports teams the middle of bad situations
The Raptors are suffering through dark times as they begin to move on from a horrible management regime (that they still have not fully recovered from) that saw the team’s draft picks get wasted in unspectacular fashion and its star player get dealt away for what amounted to peanuts. It did have some things going for it, like a rising young star, cap space, and a high draft pick to build on. Compare prevoius management to Bryan Colangelo’s success in Phoenix and the hiring seems like a no-brainer.

The Leafs on the other hand were in far worse shape when Brian Burke came. Years of mediocrity wasted on average drafting, traded draft picks that could have selected stars, traded prospects like Tuukka Rask, who would have looked good in blue and white by now, and bad contracts given out to over-the-hill free agents, all without explaining the 2005 CBA which put the Leafs at an immediate disadvantage going forward. They had recently lost their star player in free agency (albeit he was at the end of his career), had no future star on the team or in the system, had little in the farm system, and a team filled with aging and mediocre players, many with bad long term deals and no. Their outlook was a lot bleaker.

Both GMs have connections
Brian Burke and USA Hockey; Bryan Colangelo and International (European) basketball. Ron Wilson coaches Team USA and Brian Burke managed them at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Burke’s notable acquisitions include Phil Kessel, Jake Gardiner, Mike Brown, Joey Crabb, Tim Connolly, David Steckel, John-Michael Liles, and Mike Komisarek. He selected 9 American players in three drafts. It’s easy to hate the Phil Kessel deal because of what ultimately went to the already-good Boston Bruins, but his American bust in my (and many others) opinion was signing Mike Komisarek.

Bryan Colangelo brought Maurizio Gherardini to head international scouting. Began international movement by drafting Andrea Bargnani, he then signs Jorge Garbajosa, Anthony Parker (for argument’s sake), and Linas Kleiza, trades for Carlos Delfino, Rasho Nesterovic, Marco Belinelli, brings over Roko Ukic and Uros Slokar (both Babcock draftings) from Europe. His European busts were Andrea Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu. He then teases the fans and drafts Jonas Valanciunas.

Both GMs made notable splashes early on
In his first offseason, Bryan Colangelo changed the team through an overhaul that rid the team of its biggest mistake. These moves helped add 20 wins, a division title, and two playoff appearances.

Brian Burke drafted a highly skilled forward (Nazem Kadri) and traded to get Phil Kessel. As the team struggled, he traded more spare parts for a defenceman in need of a new team (Dion Phaneuf) and a defensive prospect (Keith Aulie).

Each GM had enigmatic coaches that eventually needed to be replaced with more defensive-competent caoches
Sam Mitchell with Jay Triano with Dwane Cwasey
Ron Wilson with Randy Carlyle

Both GMs struggled to address positional needs
Burke – first-line centre, no.1 goaltender
Colangelo – starting shooting guard, small forward and centre

2010 offseason served a low blow to both GMs
The Leafs finished 2nd-last in the NHL and the Boston Bruins used their top pick to select Tyler Seguin (Burke wanted, but missed out on the Sedins who re-signed with Vancouver before free agency even began and in hindsight, maybe securing a no.1 goaltender and/or other top-end positions ahead of Phil Kessel would have been the smarter move).
The Raptors stumbled out of a playoff berth and lost Chris Bosh in free agency (goes back to Bryan Colangelo needing to be proactive as a GM. If he were a quality two-way GM, he could have looked at the team and the free agent pool and decided that there wasn’t much available to improve the team significantly. If the best BC could do was get Hedo Turkoglu (who was talented, but a bad fit and another poor defender), why not commit to the future at that point?

Since 2010, neither GM has attempted any more quick fixes
So far.

Both GMs are overpaid and at risk of losing their jobs in the near future
Largely due to their pedigrees and styles upon arrival in Toronto and the results of their respective Toronto teams.

by Stephen Waugh on Apr 11, 2012 12:08 PM EDT up reply actions

Both GMs had a hand in the 2011 championship contestants

2011 Stanley Cup Final

Vancouver Canucks: Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Kevin Bieksa, and Ryan Kesler were all drafted by Brian Burke.

Boston Bruins: Drafted Tyler Seguin on Toronto’s 2010 first round pick that Brian Burke traded among others for Phil Kessel. He traded Tomas Kaberle to the Bruins during the 2010-2011 season.

2011 NBA Finals

Miami Heat (should be obvious, but here it goes): Traded Jermaine O’Neal, Jamario Moon, and Toronto’s 2011 first round pick to the Miami Heat for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. The Raptors missed the playoffs, the Heat let Jermaine O’Neal walk so they could use the cap space to sign Chris Bosh and LeBron James.

Dallas Mavericks: Traded Shawn Marion, Kris Humphries, Nathan Jawai and cash considerations to the Dallas Mavericks so he could sign Hedo Turkoglu; failed to trade for Tyson Chandler and Boris Diaw, but the trade fell through and Chandler was traded to the Mavericks instead; traded for and shortly bought out Peja Stojakovic who signed with the Mavericks.

by Stephen Waugh on Apr 11, 2012 12:44 PM EDT up reply actions is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of

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