The 2012 NHL Draft on Friday brings with it the first real opportunity for teams to make trades in the offseason. Sure they were allowed to do so per the rules beforehand, but it's not until these GMs all get together on an arena floor that you see the trades start to fly. One of the biggest trade makes on draft day historically has been Brian Burke. Everyone loved the balls he showed for the Sedin twins trade, and everyone hated the Tyler Biggs pick swap.
And that got us here at PPP Amalgamated Heavy Industries and Basement Renovators LLC thinking; how good or bad has Brian Burke been regarding trades made as the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs? In his nearly 4 years as Leafs GM, Burke has made 40 trades, and so we graded them all on two scales. First from a scale of 1 to 7 judging the impact to the team of the trade; 1 being "AHL swap, unimportant players on both sides" and a 7 being "Important moment in the franchise for 10+ years." Then we judged the trade itself on a scale of -5 to +5; -5 being "Rask for Raycroft", and +5 being "Great trade for the Leafs".
Brian Burke's Fourth Worst Trade
February 14th, 2011
To Toronto: 2011 1st round pick (#25 - Stuart Percy), 2011 3rd round pick (#85 - Josh Leivo)
To Philadelphia: Kris Versteeg
Burke trades a salary-controlled 24 year old who’s consistently scored 20+ goals throughout his career for a draft pick that’s unlikely to turn into a consistent 20 goal scorer and the opportunity to overspend on a thin and overpriced UFA market. Great asset management. (And I don’t care if Versteeg wanted out or if the Leafs felt they had to move him. Selling assets below market value isn’t a great way to improve a perennial bottom feeding club or a great way to burnish your GM cred).
Brian Burke's Fourth Best Trade
July 3rd, 2011
To Toronto: Cody Franson, Matthew Lombardi, 2013 conditional 4th round pick (not exercised)
To Nashville: Brett Lebda, Roberty Slaney, 2013 conditional 4th round pick (exercised)
I liked this trade better when Lombardi was concussed an unlikely to play instead of being the new Jason Blake (has any player fired more pucks directly into a goalie than these two?). That said, this is the type of deal the Leafs should always be on the lookout for – gaining assets in return for taking on other teams’ financially challenging contracts.
What is your take on these trades? Deserving of being in the top 4 best/worst of Burke's tenure?