Friday, December 12, 2008

Brian Burke is "Great"- But can he rebuild the Leafs?


We have a lot of managers in this world. We have fewer leaders than we need. We have even fewer great leaders that can thrive in many situations. In ultimate, there are several captains and coaches that are known as being great. But would they be able to lead a completely different team?

I had a great chat at the national sport organization's annual pub crawl Wednesday night about Brian Burke. Someone disagreed with my statement about his draft record. Being the stats nerd I am, I had to look up the stats again and put something together to prove/disprove my point.

It's still too early to judge his Anaheim draft work. However, we can look at his 1999-2003 tenure with the Canucks. What I found is attached, and the numbers are very sad for Leaf fans.

Total Stats
Players Drafted 42
NHL Players 11 26%
Players Over 50 Games 6 14%
Players still in the Show 6 14%
Actual Canucks 4 10%

If you take away the number 2 and number 3 overall picks of 1999
(Sedin) the numbers are even worse.

So, hiring Brian Burke to rebuild a team's on ice product through young players and the draft is a very risky business. His track record suggest that even with five years, he can promise you 10-14% of the players he drafts will make the NHL past 50 games. Consider the Sens
had 23 NHL players from the same period, with all but one top 5 picks and many years not getting to draft until after the 20th selection or later.

Sorry Leaf fans... your new leader's fatal flaw is exactly what you need him to be best at.


higy said...

But how do those numbers compare to other GM's across the league?

Aaron said...

You're also assuming that drafting is based on Burke's decision alone. With their alumni network and financial capability, Leafs has one of the best scouting staffs and foundation in the league.

Unless Burke goes on this one man rampage and draft according to his own personal decision, I wouldn't worry.

Also do you see Burke "completely" blowing up the team? He already said he's not and will not ask Kaberle and Kubina to waive their no trade clause. It's very likely that Burke will build his team around some core players we already have through picks and free agency.

NateB said...

"With their alumni network and financial capability, Leafs has one of the best scouting staffs and foundation in the league"


higy said...

Yea I wouldn't really put the leafs down as a great scouting team....

Aaron said...

If you're comparing to Redwings then ya, we're not up there at all.

Past 10 years, our notable first round picks were:

2006 – Tlusty (13)
2005 – Rask (21)
2002 – Steen (24)
2001 – Colaiacovo (17)
2000 – Boyes (24)
1998 – Antropov (10)

Other than Steen and Colaiacovo, I'd say the other players are decent. We're not always going to find gems in 200th pick like Detriot always seem to do. We traded our first round picks away in 99, 03, 04, 07. None of our first round draft picks are top 5 either.

Sport Management Steven said...


Alumni network? I'm pretty sure that is not how it works.

Next steps would be to fully look at the records of general managers during the time period. I already stated Ottawa doing much better, and I notice some other teams.. all did better during that time period.

Consider the record of the most hated general manager of Montreal Canadiens history- Rejean Houle. His draft record of 1996-2000 can be summed up as follows

Total Stats
Players Drafted 54
NHL Players 17 31%
Players Over 50 Games 13 24%
Players still Show 6 11%
Actual Canadiens 5 9%

He was brutal, yet his percentages are higher in terms of NHL players and players with 50+ games.

It's worse than I thought.

Aaron said...

Alumni network definitely helps, to what extent I do not know. It was just on an interview the other day on the score where 2 Redwing alumni (don't remember their names, they played in the 80s) said they get sent to scout for Detroit occasionally. I don't believe they get paid significant amount for doing it. They said these are the type of things they do with the tight knit Detroit organization. If Detroit is doing it, I don't see why Leafs won't.