On the heels of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, it seems clear that Brian Burke and The Toronto Maple Leafs had a clear strategy of what they were going to do. They would draft the best players available and fill the holes in the line-up through trade as evidenced by their selection of two defensemen in rounds one and two. They subsequently traded a defenseman, Luke Schenn to the Philadelphia Flyers for a big power forward in James van Riemsdyk, something they’ve lacked over the past few seasons.
Conversely, the Pittsburgh Penguins also used their first two picks of this draft to take defensemen. Although the two teams took the same approach to their first couple selections, it’s obvious, at least according to Brian Burke, they have very different ideas of how to build their respective teams. In fact, Brian Burke became visibly upset not too long ago when asked if he should try to duplicate the Penguins road to success by drafting great one-of-a-kind players that helped them win the 2009 Stanley Cup.
The Penguins drafted their #1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury 1st overall in 2003; They drafted this past season’s leading scorer Evgeni Malkin 2nd overall in 2004; They won a league-wide draft lottery to select the current ‘best player in the world’ Sidney Crosby in 2005; They drafted solid two-way forward Jordan Staal 2nd overall in 2006. These were the four key players in securing that Stanley Cup victory.
The fact Pittsburgh had four extremely high picks, including winning a lottery to get the best player in the world, a luxury the Toronto Maple Leafs did not and do not have, is what angered Burke so much in that press conference. So, when asked if he should follow that same strategy, his answer was clear........
I hope you all enjoyed the Draft, the speculation, the trades. Now it’s on to Free Agent Frenzy!