After hanging up the skates following the conclusion of the 2011-2012 season, the Leafs announced Wednesday that they had hired NHL veteran defenseman, Steve Staios, as a player development adviser. Once again, this may not be the news that Leafs fans were exactly hoping for, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to add an experienced ex-player to the front office.
After being jostled around between the Blues, Bruins, and Canucks, Steve Staios made his first significant impact with the expansion team, Atlanta Thrashers, where he captained them in his last season there before being signed by the Oilers. Edmonton is the team he will be remembered most playing for. In 2006, he finished with 28 points as the Oilers made their march to the Stanley Cup Final, but falling short in Game 7 in Carolina. Despite the positives Staios brings to the young players in Toronto, many Leaf fans are questioning Burke`s priorities this summer, as it appears he is not making much of an effort to address the team needs on the roster.
It seems as though Leafs GM, Brian Burke, is taking small steps towards proper development this offseason. After acquiring James van Riemsdyk in exchange for Luke Schenn early in the offseason, he has been able to add a penalty kill and faceoff specialist, Jay McClement, avoided salary arbitration with Nikolai Kulemin by re-signing him, and signed AHL star, Keith Aucoin. And now with the addition Steve Staios to the team’s player development, it appears Burke is taking reasonable strides to ensure the future of this team continues to climb. However, many have made the argument that this should have been his approach when he first came to Toronto five seasons ago.
It’s easy to point fingers at the failure in recent years and fault the big boss in charge, but I believe Burke is doing everything right. He continues to sign key role players for apparent pennies, while leaving room for potential bigger moves. But as Leafs Nation grows restless, the silence in the city is brewing agitation among an expecting fan-base.
Although Burke brought the pressure upon himself, announcing that they were going to address needs via trade immediately following the season, and then again reassuring fans at the deadline saying that he wasn`t done with trades, Leaf fans need to stay patient and understanding. It is only late July and there is plenty of time to materialize a number of deals. And just because Burke is silent to the media, doesn`t mean he isn`t working on deals. By now, we should all know how the man operates, and shouldn`t be surprised if he is in the process of making multiple deals happen. Also note that the current CBA is set to expire this fall and those talks continue.. which will always cause hesitation and halt movement.
Nevertheless, Steve Staios was always a core guy and great leader. He brings a good dose of player experience to the front office. This is never a bad move.