As leafs fans we find ourselves asking this question far too much as of late. Truth is, yes the team is struggling, and yes, the season may be lost. But would it not be sensible to suggest there might be more to gain from a season many are claiming to be over for the Leafs?
One of the biggest issues this season has to be the acquisition of Phil Kessel. Why have fans given up on this player? He is a proven goal scorer, and looks to be playing very well so far this season. Sure Burke may have given up a fair amount for him, but will those draft picks turn out to be a player of Kessel's quality? It is far to soon to say this was a bad trade, and it is unreasonable to suggest Burk has mortgaged the teams future by making the deal. Kessel is young still, and has proven he can play in the NHL, something any player drafted by Boston has yet to prove.
As for coaching/management, why are so many people calling for the heads of Wilson and Burke? Burke has a decent young team waiting in the wings. Schenn, Tlusty, Bozak, Hansen, Staalberg, Kadri, Gustavsson, Kessel, Mitchell, and last but not least Gunnarson might prove to be a formidable line up in the near future. It should also not be forgotten that Burke might be able to trade other players near the deadline and add to this promising group of youngsters. Ponikarovski, Grabovski, Kaberle(if he waves his NTC) White, and Primeau might grab the attention of some teams looking for an edge.
This team might look less than satisfactory this year, however, taking a step backwards might not seem to bad in a few years.