Written by Keesje Kort @keesje_ingamer
I remember the first time I was at a Brian Burke event. It was at the ACC for the annual season ticket holders pancake breakfast and two things really stood out to me. The foodservice staff at the ACC ran out of maple syrup (who knew that pancakes and syrup went hand in hand) and Brian Burke will build a winner in Toronto. As a Toronto resident it is virtually impossible to pick up a paper, turn on a radio or surf any sport web page without some form of opinion on the Leaf’s rebuilding strategy shift that has occurred during the last couple of weeks. By jettisoning Francois Beauchemin, Kris Versteeg and most recently Tomas Kaberle out of town in exchange for a series of first round picks and high level prospects Burke has pulled a 180 from the on the fly rebuild. While some might criticize the strategy shift I am thankful that we have a leader in Toronto with the courage to hit, as Ron Wilson likes to call it, ‘the reset button’. In the last two weeks, Burke has added 2008 first rounders, center Joe Colborne, and smooth skating defenceman Jake Gardiner, along with two first round picks in this years entry draft. The on the fly rebuild wasn’t working but by hitting the breaks, adding draft picks and prospects, Brian Burke is creating a scenario where the youngest team in the league can learn and grow together and will in my opinion develop within a year into a very tough team to beat. While I like truculence and pugnacity, I’m also an admirer of size, speed and skill, traits the recent additions have an abundance of. Not loss in all of this has been the development of Nazem Kadri. Kadri is quietly developing into a top six forward and will benefit both from an extended stay under Dallas Eakins tutelage as well as a year to mature away from the constant glare of the Toronto Media. It will be interesting to see what occurs between now and Monday’s trade deadline but don’t be surprised if another transaction involving a player for draft picks happens. Dave Morrison and his team of amateur scouts will be a lot busier preparing for the 2011 Draft in St. Paul, Minnesota than they were in Hollywood last year. Burke promised the Leaf Nation a winner when he took command and a winner he is building. Patience Toronto, this is the right path.