In what would call a shocking move this early in the season, Brian Burke is out as GM for the Anaheim Ducks with Bob Murray replacing him in that capacity. Burke will stay on with the Ducks as a senior advisor, but will now be able to negociate freely with any NHL team for any job opening that may be available.
That's right kids, look for the Burke-to-Toronto rumors to heat up in a big way....mostly because odds are now these rumors could very well become reality in the near future.
For the Ducks side, Burke's contract was going to expire at the end of the season anyway and claimed family considerations as his excuse not to re-sign with the club after his current contract lapsed. May as well get Murray in there to learn the ropes and get the keys to the team earlier than this summer. Murray, who was a Hawks GM, was the assistant to Burke and is taking the Dave Nonis route to GMing and sliding in there due to a Burke departure. Murray just needs to hope his fate isn't the same as Nonis, who didn't have an impressive career in the Vancouver GM role.
For Burke, this will pretty much seal his fate on the worst kept secret in the NHL, which will see him in Toronto as the GM there, replacing the vintage Cliff Fletcher model-- who was just a stopgap until someone who didn't have one of the first AARP memberships that came along. It's what the media in Toronto will love because of the sound bytes that Burke will give out to the team, but it will also give the Leafs their first real, proven GM since Pat Quinn start there in 1999. Let's face it, John Ferguson Jr. really screwed over the Leafs in terms of being able to move people and Fletcher is.....well, Fletcher.
The real question is whether this is a good move for the Leafs and Burke. While it gives the Toronto fans a prominent figure in the GM role who has had a history of getting some good deals now and again; can he really make the Leafs a serious contender again?? There's plenty of claims to say that he will and that anything he can touch will turn to gold. There's the devil's advocate approach to say that this will work as well as other new, persumably high-priced talent that Leafs have brought in within the last few years....which is to say that it will turn to crap fast.
However, this is putting the cart before the horse. Burke's name hasn't even been taken off the GM's door and we're moving him to Toronto already. It's not a sure thing right now that he'll even go to Toronto, but it seems like a 85-90% chance that it'll happen sometime in the near future or end of the season. Then, if and when it does happen-- it will be disected further. And knowing the Toronto media-- it'll be disected to the littlest detail and the media vultures will enjoy every minute of it.