"We got a 21-year-old kid...who scored 37 goals in the NHL. Like I said, I’d do it again.” - Brian Burke explaining why he traded away three very high draft picks for Phil Kessel.
"This was the best offer we had, it met our criteria. The package of picks was something we felt we had to take at this point." - Brian Burke explaining why he traded away Kris Versteeg, a 24-year-old Cup-winning forward who blocks shots, kills penalties, hustles and is on pace for 20 goals on the third line for very late 1st- and 3rd-round picks.
The man is an idiot. Either you are building through the draft or you are not. This is an even dumber trade than the Kessel one. At least there you thought maybe he might have some kind of Master Plan.
But obviously not. Versteeg is EXACTLY the kind of player Burke said he was looking for when he came here. EXACTLY. And he's 24 years old. And he's won a Cup. And he seems like he gives a damn. And Burke traded THREE players for him: Viktor Stalberg and prospects Chris DiDomenico and Phillippe Paradis. Are the players they pick up in this draft going to be better than those three? Doubtful.
I would far rather have Seguin (or Hall, because without Kessel last year the Leafs would likely have finished 30th) and Knight and whoever goes 1st or 2nd overall this year paired with Versteeg going forward than Kessel, NONE of those three players and whoever we get with the two very late picks from the Flyers - one of which Burke is already planning to trade away for God knows who. On the plus side, now that they don't have any lottery pick possibilities the Leafs are finally learning how to tank to move down in the standings. So there's that, at least. Where was this thought process when Stamkos and Doughty and Tavares were the prizes? Sigh.
"We're excited about adding a first-round pick," Burke added. "We think there are plenty of assets in this draft." Oh yes, Brian? Plenty of assets? So many that you didn't mind giving up a top-5 pick in it? That's very odd and most certainly not what you said when you made the Kessel trade.
But my favourite part of his presser yesterday was this: Burke opined that the acquisition of Joffrey Lupul made it easier to move Versteeg. I almost spit out my milk upon reading that. Lupul is S-L-O-W. He is older than Versteeg. He won't score as many goals or block as many shots in any single season of his career from here on in as Versteeg does and will. And even if I'm completely wrong about that... how on earth is this team so strong that they only need ONE of them on it? This team has Brett Lebda and Joey Crabb, just to name a couple of sweater-fillers.
Brian Burke has proven once and for all - as if there was any doubt - that he has absolutely no game plan in mind and is just pissing wildly into the wind. When he leaves here Cupless, as he inevitably will, there may be 20 more years of desolation in Leafland before there's even a glimmer of hope.
This is the worst trade he has made so far. Sadly, I don't even think it will be top 5 when the dust finally settles over his sorry career in Toronto.
It's just not fair. :|