With the Blue Jays and Raptors in a perpetual state of rebuild (although the Jays have been a .500 team for almost a decade, and are plagued by an archaic MLB playoff structure, don’t get me started) it’s understandable that we Torontonians have grown tired waiting another season for success. I won’t pretend to know exactly how long Jays or Raps fan will have to wait, but for us, the 2013 offseason could be the crescendo of Brian Burke’s tenure as Leafs' GM.
Upon arriving in Toronto, Burke made strong statements about the forthcoming truculence of the team he would assemble, and the voracity with which the team would approach yearly free agency, memorably referring to it as “our draft”.
Since then the term ‘truculence’ has taken on a more pejorative tone, as the media and fans lament the Leafs' lack of toughness and size throughout the lineup. Likewise the promise of big name free agent signings has gone unfulfilled with misses on Ilya Kovalchuk, Brad Richards, and the Sedin brothers (who never actually become UFAs, leaving Burke with an expensive plane ticket to Sweden to visit one Jonas Gustavsson) to name a few.
We've all been quick to judge, and in some instances to mock, Brian Burke for his many rules and ideologies; a self imposed trade embargo during the Christmas holidays and rallying against the long term, cap circumventing contracts of Kovalchuk, Luongo, Richards, and Weber, to name a few. However, Burke has quietly put the team in an enviable position heading into the 2013 free agent market, with a substantial amount of cap space.