Let’s start with the easy part: Brian Burke failed in Toronto.
There’s really no way to spin it otherwise. Some people will try, because that’s how these things always work, but it’s futile. Brian Burke failed.
He came to the Maple Leafs in 2008 when it seemed that the franchise had hit rock bottom, and, as general manager, he never made it significantly better. He missed the NHL playoffs all four years. He took over a team coming off an 83-point season that everyone agreed was a disaster and managed to top that total only once. He compiled a .490 winning percentage, which, in a league that gives out points for losing, is indisputably awful.
All of that might have been acceptable if Burke, who was fired Wednesday, could point to an organization stocked with can’t-miss prospects. But the Leafs don’t even have that. The farm system is in better shape than it was when he inherited it, because it would've been nearly impossible for it not to be. But not by much, and with the (optimistically) possible exception of defenseman Morgan Rielly, it’s lacking the sort of top-tier young talent that almost all of today’s winning NHL teams are built around.
No playoffs. No blue chips. No progress. And, increasingly, no hope. That’s failure, any way you cut it.
So that’s the easy part. Now the harder question: Why? Why did someone who seemed like such a perfect fit for the job fail so spectacularly?>> Read the full post at Grantland