Prompted by Curt’s Brian Burke Backslap I have taken it upon myself to post this rebuttal. I do so on behalf of two vastly underrepresented groups on Maple Leafs blogs and message boards: Non-Leafs fans and Leafs Fans Who Recognize Brian Burke’s Incompetence.
Curt’s thesis, if I understood correctly, was that Brian Burke has improved the prospect depth of the organization since he took over in November 2008. Apart from some shady logic (the existence of a “Top 10” prospects in the organization doesn’t mean that those 10 prospects are necessarily good), maybe that’s true – heaven knows it couldn’t get any worse than it was then. Does that mean, however, that Brian Burke has done a good job? I say no. And to prove it, I’m going to stage the Ultimate Face-Off:
Given the job of Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager in November 2008, which of the combatants would produce the better prospect pool? I’m going to look at it in the three ways you can add prospects: trade, free agency, and draft.
Brian Burke has acquired the following “futures” (prospects or draft picks) via trade:
2009 2nd, 2nd, 4th, 2010 2nd, 4th, 5th, 5th, 7th, 2011 2nd, 7th
Keith Aulie, Luca Caputi, Chris Peluso, Ryan Hamilton, Matt Jones, Bill Sweatt
He has traded away the following:
2009 4th, 2010 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 6th, 2011 1st, 2012 7th
Viktor Stalberg, Jiri Tlusty, Philippe Paradis, Chris DiDomenico, Tim Stapleton, Robby Earl, Richard Petiot, Jimmy Hayes
Brian Burke’s body of work shows better-quality draft picks given away than retained, and almost certainly worse players coming in than going out. The Wheel of Brie would have retained all the draft picks (Seguin included), retained the better-quality prospects, and been delicious on crackers.
Bombastic Burkie has enticed the following prospects via free agency:
Christian Hanson, Tyler Bozak, Robert Slaney, Jonas Gustavsson, Brayden Irwin, Jussi Rynnas, Ben Scrivens
The Wheel of Brie would not have put the Leafs up against the 50-contract limit but may have missed out on some quality prospects. The Brie is also high in trans fats.
It’s unscientific, but let’s look back at Burke’s drafts as GM (’09 and ’10) and compare the picks he made to the player available at that ranking by the Central Scouting Bureau, who would have been the default pick of the cheesy competitor (I only did the first three rounds because after that it gets silly to try to look these kids up and project them at all).
7 - Nazem Kadri (Burke), Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson (Brie)
50 - Kenny Ryan (Burke), Alex Hutchings (Brie)
58 - Jesse Blacker (Burke), Tyson Barrie (Brie)
68 - Jamie Devane (Burke), Taylor Doherty (Brie)
43 - Brad Ross (Burke), Ryan Spooner (Brie)
62 - Greg McKegg (Burke), Justin Faulk (Brie)
Unfortunately we won’t see a clear winner here until 2-3 years from now but looking at the centerpiece (Kadri vs. Paajarvi) and the 2nd rounders in ‘09, it would be hard to argue that the Big Irishman is ahead of the Big Wheel – and I’d rather hang out with the Brie after it gets baked.
So there you have it, Leafs fans, a 2-1 decision for the cheese. Two milky-white chunks of fat enter, only one remains. You can pat Burkie on the back all you want…me, I’d wish my team had kept the millions of dollars in GM salary and just sent me the brie.