There seems to be tons of blogs surrounding the Leafs/GM Brian Burke's pursuit of a higher pick ahead of Friday's NHL Entry Draft - very few of those blogs are actually analyzing the work that Burke has done thus far.
With the regular season coming to a close, Burke stated to the mass media that he would do anything and everything in his power to land the Islander's top pick, and in doing so take highly rated prospect John Tavares. In it's own right it was a move that has been a unique and rare change from the usual tight-lipped commenting nature that we've become used to from Maple Leafs' staff. However, it's hard to suggest that publically stating his opinion hasn't actually hurt Burke's big to move up in the draft order.
His statement, combined with his repeated intentions of wanting to move up, has served to notifify the rest of the NHL, and mainly the teams sitting ahead of the Leafs in the draft pecking order, what big Brian's intentions are. Conventional wisdom would question whether telling everyone your plans is a wise move in a day and age where trade talks and discussions are more akin to espionage and stuff out of spy movies, rather than anything else.
Essentially what Brian has done with his public statement of intention, is show his hand to everyone else in the league - at this point, he's trying to "buy" the higher picks, by offering some of his roster's better talent. The problem with such a ploy is that it only works when you have something that you can "buy with". With a Leafs roster starved of the playoffs, and with so few quality players on it - Kaberle, Schenn, and perhaps Kubina being the only three marketable assets on the team - the decision to take the buyers approach seems to have backfired. Teams simply are not interested in picking up the weight on a team that has by-and-large failed in the post-lockout area and therefore nobody with anything resembling a logical thought process, will be willing to give up a first pick from the top 5 positions for a Leaf or two.
So while at first, Brian's public pursuit of Tavares and the high picks was enthusiastically and excitingly met as a positive statement of fact and admission, it merely has served to show the rest of the league just what type of deck the Leafs GM is playing with. Ultiamately, that's why the Leafs won't move up tomorrow barring some exceptional offer that Burke puts together.
Watch this space.
NOTE - As you've probably heard, Kessel has been offered to the Leafs for Kaberle and the Leafs' first round pick, 7th overall.
Interesting and intriguing, but ultimately a move that the Leafs should not be making. There's no doubt that Kessel is a guy that the Leafs can build around - he's got the natural scoring ability that is difficult to educate to players, and he's quite the all-round type of player.
Yet the sticking point ultimately is the Leafs' 7th overall pick. Burke should be trying to convince Boston that Kaberle or Kessel outright, without any pick attached, would be a decent deal. In that way, the Leafs get a solid youngster plus a chance to move up in the draft with the transferable 7th pick, or at worst, pick 7th. That should be the Leafs approach with this offer - giving up the pick would not be at all beneficial to us.