Brian Burke issues crucial advice for the Maple Leafs

The former Leafs executive is speaking out.



The Calgary Flames appear on the verge of another major organizational move, as defenseman Nikita Zadorov stunned fans with a trade request not long after having been contemplating a contract extension.

A pair of teams reported to be at the forefront of a potential acquisition of Zadorov are the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs, the latter of which were ran by Brian Burke for a time. 

Burke knows all about the inner workings of the NHL trade market, having been employed by several teams in his career in management. And because the Leafs are currently ran by former Flames general manager Brad Treliving, it presents a unique circumstance. 

"You'd like to think you have superior knowledge, it's a team you worked for and you think you know their players," Burke said of Treliving potentially trading with his former team. "I can still tell you any player I had in Pittsburgh, I can still tell you everything you wanna know about him, if he's still there I can tell you everything you wanna know about him."

"I think Connie (Craig Conroy) has the same body of knowledge so you're dealing with two guys with equal knowledge, and Craig Conroy is new at this, but he's a real good guy, he's a real smart guy, and I think he'll do a good job. It gives you an advantage that you both know everything that there is about these players, it might be simpler in some cases to make a fit, rather than thinking you have superior knowledge (over the rival general manager)."

Burke, who knows how Treliving operates, sounds as though he wouldn't be in agreement with the Leafs acquiring Zadorov unless they had assurances that he was going to sign long-term, as he's currently slated to become a free agent at this season's end. 

"The key is getting these defenseman the right seat at the table, it's a phrase that Tre used to use when I was working there," Burke said. "You want everyone at the right seat at the table, so you do have a number one defenseman, you do have a number two defenseman, you do have a number three defenseman, you do have a number four defenseman."

"I think they got to make sure they got to sign them both if they're going to pay any kind of meaningful price. You have to have some agreement that they're going to sign or else why bother?"

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