Brian Burke has not been able to get the goaltending or offensive strength the team needs to get to the next level. Time in the offseason to make a trade is running out and the chances of the Leafs landing an impact player from free agency are slim to none.
The Leafs decided to hedge their bets and watched as goaltending alternatives Thomas Vokoun and Sergei Bobrovski went to other teams leaving them with the options of Roberto Luongo and possibly Jonathan Bernier.
Vancouver General Manager Mike Gillis is hesitant to move Luongo unless it is for the right price. “We’re listening to a number of different situations,” Gillis said heading into the draft. “I haven’t made my mind up yet on what direction we’re going to go. I think it’s more prudent to be patient and make sure we’re doing the right thing for our organization and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Burke who is adept at playing politics with the Toronto media has been inconsistent with his message about goaltending. Earlier Burke stated that with an upgrade in goaltending the Leafs are a playoff team, Burke doubled back on his words after the draft. “I don’t need a goaltender until we play the first game,” Burke said. “We are far more comfortable with the guys we have than the media seems to be. If we can upgrade at a reasonable price, we will. I don’t feel any pressure to now.”
While Burke’s talk and posturing may have made people take notice before with a lack of results it is becoming background noise. He doesn’t draw the same type of audience he did before and fans and the media have grown tired of his quotes. Without a significant change and that leads to success Burke could find himself out of a job.
If the Leafs are unable to acquire better players they may have to give players from the Calder Cup finalist Toronto Marlies a shot. While Colby Armstrong and Mike Komisarek were the assistant captains for the games they played, they often found themselves on benched by Wilson. Having these type of players on the Leafs roster prevents prospects like Matt Frattin, Nazem Kadri, and Korbinian Holzer from playing on the Leafs and furthering their development.
The Leafs are hoping that a more defensive system under Randy Carlyle the Leafs will lower their goals against enough to become a playoff team.
A longshot to be the Leafs saving grace is Swedish prospect Mark Owuya who posted an 11-5-1 record a with a 1.94gaa and .929sv% in his time with the Toronto Marlies last season.