Do you remember back in mid-April when Leafs GM Brian Burke announced that the Leafs were trying to trade up in the NHL draft to get John Tavares?
Back when Tavares seemed to be the consensus #1 pick.
And here we are, all of eight weeks later, surrounded by rumblings that Tavares may have slipped to number three. It seems that after at least half-a-decade under the hockey microscope, people are suddenly concerned about Tavares' skating skills. Good thing they're bringing it up now. Would hate for that sort of thing to only come out after June 24.
Coincidentally, as Tavares' stock has allegedly dropped, Burke's sites have also shifted. The new goal for the Leafs is just to crack into the top five.
Why the change in Burke's plans?
Maybe the cost of trading into the top three too prohibitive.
Maybe the talent level really does drop off after the fifth spot.
Or maybe, as Steve Simmons (ack!) suggested, the off-ice issues of several teams in the top 10 are limiting trade talks.
Look at the state of so many of the teams in the top 10, by my count four of the top 10 teams have brand new GMs or serious off-ice issues. One can't help but wonder how challenging it's going to be for Burke to find the right dance partner to swing a deal (or deals) to land a top five draft pick.
|Draft Order||Team||General Manager||Notes|
|2||Tampa Bay||Brian Lawton||Allegedly has gained full autonomy for hockey decisions after power struggle with ownership. Allegedly.|
|3||Colorado||Greg Sherman||Named GM on June 2.|
|4||Atlanta||Don Waddell||On-going litigation between team co-owners.|
|5||Los Angeles||Dean Lombardi||"Confident in our ability to move...last year was our first real test in terms of our ability to move up and down, I think this year we're going to be more than ready." link|
|6||Phoenix||Don Maloney||Nothing going on out here in the desert, it's business as usual for the Coyotes. Everything is just great. /Bettman|
|8||Dallas||Joe Nieuwendyk||Has held GM position for less than a week.|
|10||Ottawa||Bryan Murray||Busy focusing on candidates to replace Cory Clouston next December.|
Clearly, Burke has his work cut out for him as he tries to crack into the top five. As much as I hate trade rumours, if you listen to that interview with Dean Lombardi (FF to about 3:15) the Kings certainly sound like they're ready to make a deal...hopefully it's bigger than the previous deals between Burke and Lombardi: JS Aubin for a 7th and O'Donnell for a conditional pick.