Did the Hockey Gods Finally Just Smile on Burke?

With numerous sources suggesting that an impasse between Steve Yzerman and Steven Stamkos has led to a request from the latter for a trade, the hockey world is all abuzz with the thought of the prolific young superstar donning a different jersey this October. That Yzerman has been at this point unable to appease his franchise player is unfortunate for the folks of Tampa, but could bode well for one of the four franchises the young star has requested a trade to.Those four apparently include Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, and some believe, L.A.


After three bona fide top centres, two named Richards, one named Carter, slipped through Brian Burke's fingers over the last few weeks, with Stamkos' prodding, the Leafs have been positioned front and centre to land the best player the franchise will have ever seen on coloured television. It certainly behooves Burke to make a serious play for the kid, and to spare no expense not named Schenn in the process.


There is no immediately apparent flaw in his game, on or off the ice. He's media-savvy, likeable, extremely marketable, and he's willing to come home to a franchise rumoured to be not exactly on the short list of the league's top talents. Stories abound, ranging from obnoxious media pressure to a coach with interpersonal shortcomings as to why names like Nash and Sedin would avoid the opportunity to be crowned hockey kings in the place where the game is what Burke called a cult and a religion.That Stammer would overlook these apparent evils to embrace the opportunity of restoring his hometown to hockey glory is a big story in itself.


While Tampa appears to have the cap space to offer Stamkos a large, lucrative deal this year, the team has eleven players that will need new deals next season, and many, like Victor Hedman, and the host of free agents that Stevie Y will want to entice, to say nothing of the internal budget he must abide by, available resources for one single player, even a player such as Stamkos, are not as unlimited as they could be elsewhere.


Burke has made it known that 10- year deals for players in their thirties is a circumvention of the C.B.A., and for this reason, he refuses to entertain them. But what about the very rare occurrence when the player in question is in his early twenties? Surely, that changes things, and hopefully enough to cause the Leafs top decision-maker to contemplate the kind of offer Yzerman has been unable to table.


In order for a scenario of this magnitude to work, Burke must be sensitive to the fact that Yzerman will be in less than a generous mood, and will require a king's ransom in return, and, more than likely, the suitor will need to absorb some cap in order to give the Bolt's GM some flex room going forward.


That likely means making room for someone like Ryan Malone on the books. Provided the burly Bolt is agreeable, at least twelve to thirteen million should be made available. With the current cap room available to Burke, he would need to jettison assets to the tune of seven to eight million. The caveat here is that those assets had better be of the kind Yzerman is interested in. Start with Kadri or Colborne. Add Kulemin, Grabovski, maybe MacArthur, and throw in at least one first round pick and a top defense prospect or player. That could be the newly-acquired Cody Franson, or one of Gunnarsson, Jake Gardiner or Jesse Blacker. If Burke is deadly serious about Stamkos defecting to Toronto, a second first rounder could also be required.


Burke was willing to over-pay for Phil Kessel, a skilled sniper, but by no means a cornerstone player. By this logic, he will likely be prepared to do the same and more to land not only a legitimate cornerstone asset for the next twelve years, but a player that makes Kessel an instant 40-goal scorer

in the process. Such a deal would make his work for the Sedins seem almost insignificant by comparison. Toronto instantly becomes a place that key athletes would take seriously, and as sure as Kane, Sid and Getzlaf became cup champs, you can bet Stamkos would one day hoist the toughest trophy in sports at the ACC before a throng of success-starved Leaf fans...


Is it happening? Who knows. But we can dream, right?


George Prax's picture

I'm sorry but I can't buy the rumors. I think they came from Eklund and they list Calgary on there, which makes no sense. That team can't even manage the cap properly in order to keep their fourth liners, no way they can figure out another superstar contract. Montreal on that list is obviously just pandering to the fanbase, Gauthier doesn't have the balls or the assets to trade for Stamkos, and Toronto's just the rumor that never goes away.

I hate to burst the bubble (no pun intended Wink) but I just don't see him in any other jersey next year. Money troubles or not Yzerman's not an idiot, you just don't let a 21 maurice richard winner go on his second contract.

nowhere's picture

Owen, I'm in full agreement with Prax on this. I don't see how Stevie Y trades Stamkos even with the Lightning's financial issues. In the event Stamkos was traded, why on earth would he trade him to a team in the Eastern Conference? Finally, it would screw up EA's NHL 12 cover art & intro sequence.

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

This is ludicrous. Nothing more than a rumour. Why would Yzerman take less than 4 first rounders when that's what the compensation would be? Plus don't you see guys like Doughty and Dubinsky aren't signed either? Hello people, RFA's! RESTRICTED free agents. That's so the player is RESTRICTED to their team. There's a deal coming and he'll be in Tampa for a long time. All this trade bullshit is pissing me off. That proposed deal is a bunch of garbage for a Rocket Richard winner. Also, Eklund is an idiot. I'm done.

nowhere's picture
Kyle Andrew Busch wrote:

Also, Eklund is an idiot. I'm done.

QFT, but as the dog days of summer drag on, the harder the rumor mill will churn with even wilder scenarios.

George Prax's picture

To play devil's advocate for a second, Stamkos has to actually sign the offer sheet for Yzerman to reject it. If Stamkos doesn't want to play in Tampa and Yzerman will match no matter what, then it's in Stamkos's best interest to hold out and ask for a trade. Yzerman doesn't get to match, and therefore has to deal, even if he intended to take the picks. Not to mention getting traded versus giving up 4 picks might also be in Stamkos's best interests in terms of going to a new team.

That said, Stamkos isn't a douchebag so I doubt he'd do that to the team that drafted and developed him.

Chuck Gaston Jr's picture

Here is the problem with this. It could be true. As things go on you have to wonder what the Stamkos camp is doing to prolong these negotiations. Is he asking for Ovechkin money, Crosby money, or only like 7 million and with that, where is Yzerman's number? You have to look at the more recent players of this caliber that were signed before the free agency period began. Crosby, Ovechkin, and Malkin, ect... These talents are signed before july 1st.

Now with that said, he will be in Tampa.

Owen Durkin's picture

Wow, looks like I hit a hot-button with some of you. Cool...my job is not to prognosticate or predict what Stamkos or Yzerman may be contemplating, but to simply table the discussion from a Leaf perspective. That's what this piece is about. While it may be convenient to default to the safe "Eklund sucks" argument to refute the viability of discussing this popular subject, to do so we must assume no other person has publicly addressed it, and that would be untrue. Hockey blogs dont just report; they postulate, thay ponder, and they invite people to respond. Mission accomplished, thanks for playing along. Who knows for sure where Stammer calls home this coming season. Please tell me which of you saw Mike Richards or Jeff Carter moving on?

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

To be fair Owen, I didn't pull the Eklund comment because of what you're saying, it's just that I hate Eklund. The Richards and Carter deals where very different though, those were out of the blue and done for a reason to clear the room for Bryzgalov. Stamkos is just taking a lot of time, which is fine. It means that they're still talking. That's how I see it.

George Prax's picture

Actually, you wouldn`t have to go too far back in the comments on our TCL Flyers page to see fans "postulating" about Richards and Carter getting traded. Especially Carter, who had one foot out the door the entire season, pretty much. Obviously anyone can be traded, I mean, "Gretzky was traded" is an actual saying among hockey fans. But it's pretty obvious what's happening here. There's not much to talk about so people make up rumors about an unsigned player. Yzerman's trying to build a contender, it would make no sense to give up a player like Stamkos, who's definitely at the level of Crosby or Ovechkin in my opinion. The issue has got to be details on that contract. If we postulated on ever rumor the Eklunds of the hockey community created, we'd have no time to post anything else.

Owen Durkin's picture

True enough, save for the fact that Eklund was hardly the inspiration for this piece. I don't patronize his site and I didn't read any of his comments on the subject. I did see a Twitter feed in which he suggested that LA might be interested in Stamkos. Stop the presses, LOL. EVERY GM in the game is 'interested' in Stamkos, and even Yzerman mentioned, as did local mainstream media that there have been inquiries of one form or another on his star player. As recently as Sunday a mainstream sports media personality commented about the 'issue' of snags in negotiations between Stamkos and Tampa. It was also disclosed by numerous sources ranging in 'legitimacy' that he was demanding a trade.If youre telling me eklund reported that, I'll take your word for. Again, I dont follow the man. And here in the heat of summer with the draft, recent major trades and free agency period now old news, there's a whole lot of time to post on a variety of less 'newsworthy' items such as opinion, rumours and so on. If I'm wrong, feel free to pull the piece down.

George Prax's picture

I didn't mean to offend or anything, just saying that most of the rumors this time of year come from Eklund and guys like him lol. You're definitely justified in exploring the rumor too, if it's out there. I'm not the biggest fan of propagating rumors that (to me at least) don't make sense but this is definitely big enough to warrant a blog, so that's not at all what I meant. Just like Kyle it was more that I hate Eklund that I didn't think the blog was good, in fact I thought it was a great blog. I just don't see it happening at all haha.

evilbobsaget's picture

Yes we know. Richards to the Leafs! Stamkos to the Leafs! Ovechkin to the Leafs! Lebron to the Leafs! Roger Clemens to the Leafs! We get it, Toronto is the Veruca Salt of the league.

I can hear Burkie singing in his office now:
I want the world,
I want the whole world.
I want to lock it all up in my pocket
It's my bar of chocolate
Give it to me now!
I want today
I want tomorrow
I want the works,
I want the whole works!
Presents and prizes and sweets and surprises in all shapes and sizes,
And now!
Don't care how I want it now!
Don't care how I want it now!

Chuck Gaston Jr's picture

And then they frown on him Sad