As was first reported by Bob McKenzie of TSN and later confirmed by Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet, the Toronto Maple Leafs have decided to part ways with general manager Brian Burke. The timing of this move is head-scratching to say the least, considering Burke was supposed to attend the Board of Governors meeting in New York. He was also asked to give his input for the collective bargaining agreement that was tentatively agreed upon just a few days ago. Dave Nonis, who was the senior vice-president of hockey operations, will take over as the new general manager in Toronto.
Since taking over as the president and GM of the Maple Leafs in 2008, Burke has compiled a 128-135-42 record while missing the playoffs each and every season he was at the helm. During a press conference, Tom Anselmi stated that the decision was made by him and the board and while there's never a great time to fire a general manager, it wasn’t fair to drag out Burke’s employment. We're still left wondering why the club chose to wait until now and why they refrained from cutting ties with Burke over the summer. He also mentioned that “it is more about the tone and voice of the team than a change in the direction of the team.”
When asked about the Luongo trade, Nonis was very shifty in his answer and said that he couldn’t talk about another player who is currently under contract with another team. However, one can’t help but to think that the move was also made to put the Leafs in the best position possible to acquire the 33-year-old goaltender in a trade with the Canucks. While Nonis was quoted as saying he “won’t gut the team,” however, he did add that “decisions need to be made quickly about the roster.” It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few days in Toronto with regards to their roster.