The news couldn’t have been better for some Toronto Maple Leafs fans when the NHL club announced on Feb. 21 that former general manager Brian Burke has left the organization to return to the Anaheim Ducks.
Burke, who was fired as the Leafs GM just before the shortened NHL season face off, previously worked with the Ducks as their general manager, but will now act as one of the team’s part-time scouts.
After Burke was relieved of his duties in Toronto on Jan. 9, he stayed with the organization as a senior adviser to the franchise’s ownership company.
However, since the club was paying his salary anyway, it basically created the position for him. Tom Anselmi, the president of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), which owns the cub, said he gave Burke permission to negotiate with the Ducks after the west-coast team inquired about the possibility of hiring him.
Anselmi said he and Burke agreed that a return to Anaheim would be the best scenario for him. Burke was the Ducks GM back in the 2006-07 season when they won the Stanley Cup and current Leafs coach Randy Carlyle was then behind the bench for the cup winners.
Burke left Anaheim and signed with Toronto on Nov. 29, 2008. He didn’t bring success with him as the Leafs missed the playoffs in each of his seasons in charge.
He certainly had more luck with Anaheim since he won the cup there, made the postseason in all three years and saw the Ducks win six out of their eight post-season series. In addition to scouting with Anaheim, Burke will also scout for the American National Team. Burke held the general manager’s position with the American team which won silver at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010.
Bob Murray, the GM of the Ducks, said he’s happy to welcome Burke back into the fold since he will make the franchise even stronger than it is. There’s no doubt that the Leafs are happy to see Burke go since they have now terminated his ridiculous contract, which saw him making about $6 million a year.
Burke sulked when he was fired as GM because he thought the Leafs were going to appoint him as an assistant to new general manager Dave Nonis. However, his new position was with the MLSE board and he didn’t have any input on hockey matters.
Maple Leafs fans were expecting Burke to depart sooner rather than later and since he was still n pretty good terms when he left Anaheim it seems to be a decent fit. It took him a few years to do it, but he left Toronto with a half decent roster and ironically the team could make the playoffs without him, even though he assembled most of the current talent.
Since the Ducks and Burke have worked together in the past they know exactly what they’re getting with him. However, it’s no secret that Burke is looking for a GM job in the NHL, so he may not last long as a pro scout with the Ducks.
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