I wrote a blog a few days after the draft, and quite harshly got ridiculed for suggesting that the Leafs would not be after the top-end talent available during yesterday's NHL free agent frenzy.
I suggested that Brian Burke, in all his common sense, would realize that now is not the time for the Leafs to sign big, while taking smaller, more rational steps would be the smarter way to go. This is exactly what happened yesterday - on the face of it, Carlton Orr, Garnett Exelby, and Mike Komisarek aren't players that will change the fortunes of this desperate franchise. Yet, on the evening of July 1st, the Leafs became a team that was all of a sudden a little bit tougher to play against, than the edition that took the ice last season.
We've known the type of player that Brian Burke likes, and thus the acquisitions of those three players above make perfect sense from that direction. The lack of top-end talent being added to the roster yesterday also makes perfect sense as well - while yesterday's additions make the Leafs a harder team to play against, they aren't likely to be bumped up the standings all that much. Nor are they going to jeopardize the chances of some of the young talent on this team, including Grabovski, Mitchell, Stralman, White, and Tlusty.
The fact of the matter is Brian Burke has correctly realized that playoff success is not a realistic goal for this team at this stage of their development. Thus, adding high end talent yesterday would have merely served to be a short-term punch of energy irrespective of the long-term consequences - something that this team has done far too often under previous management regimes.
So while Leaf fans can complain and throw arms-in-air about a lack of "big names" arriving yesterday, the knowledgeable and thoughtful ones can tip our hats for a job well done to Burke and Nonis -
if nothing else, this team is building a foundation for the future, which means we are going in the right direction.
Oh, and I told you so