Sell, sell, sell, sell and sell some more. This seems to be all Burke is talking about these days, aside from calling out every player on his team: Antropov doesn’t belong here, Alex Ponikarovsky doesn’t belong here, and Justin Pogge doesn’t belong here as well.
Everyone knows about Burke’s strategy, you either build to win the cup now, or you sell everything and build for the cup in 3 years. But my question is, you’ve got to start somewhere, right? You’ve gotta keep SOME young players!!! I mean, I can understand selling Blake and Mayers, but Antropov, Ponikarovsky, Hagman are 28, and still have many years to give. Stajan and Grabovski are 24, and they don’t cost a lot. What about Kubina and Kaberle, 31 and 30 respectively?? They are entering their prime, and can contribute for many more years. If and When Burke feels the team is ready to compete, you will need these players on the back-end, no??? But I guess not.
It seems like Luke Schenn is the only player Burke is willing to keep, ONE PLAYER?!!! Who does Burke think Schenn is?
I mean, the sensible plan is to sell your overpaying stars for good cheap picks, right? But how many overpaying stars are there on the roster? There are a lot of overpaid players, I can give you that, but any stars that other teams are willing to give up their future for? (Well, maybe Kaberle, but Burke himself admits that he’s a great deal at a decent price-tag, why trade him???)
The sad thing is that, Burke should be patient about his star players. If he didn’t publically call out Antropov, I’m sure he can get some decent offers for him. But Burke is no dummy, so what’s he trying to do?
I think his plan is to shoot for cup-contention much earlier than he would otherwise, that’s the only reason why he’s doing a fire-sale. Fans of Toronto look to Burke as their savior, and with the low expectation the fans have right now, there’s really no need to rush things. However, by trying to get rid of everyone, despite of huge discounts, Burke is aiming at the Cap Space.
The CBA will expire after next season, and there will be a tons of free agents after the new CBA. Burke knows that there’s no way he can build a cup-winning team within one year, so why keep anyone, right? If there are even some stars on the roster, there’s a good chance the Leafs can still be mediocre. But Mediocracy is what Burke hates the most.
If he can sell away most of the team, the expectation from the fans will be even lower. The team will probably end up at the bottom of the league for this and next season. If he has a choice, he’d wish his team to drop every match from now on, and go for Tavares.
But the coming draft is a deep one as well, so ending up in the top 5 will still get you a very good potential star. And IF, if Burke is able to package his mediocre players together to get one or two first rounder, I think he wouldn’t mind the team be filled with AHLers.
This will extend to the end of next season. Then during the summer prior to the new CBA, he will start buying. Since he has tons of cap space, he can buy whichever star players he likes. THIS, combined with the young guns he gathered during the bottom-feeding years, is how he plans to build a Stanley Cup Winner.
So, look for Burke to continue sell everything, even at the most discounted price, he doesn’t care, as long as he can reduce the salary cap hit, he’d be happy. So Gillis, who knows, maybe we can pick up some cheap goods at the deadline this year?