Grading Every Brian Burke Trade as the Toronto Maple Leafs G.M.

WINNIPEG, CANADA - JANUARY 3: Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs plays the puck down the ice during second period action against the Winnipeg Jets on January 3, 2015 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Jets defeated the Leafs 5-1. (Photo by Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images)
WINNIPEG, CANADA - JANUARY 3: Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs plays the puck down the ice during second period action against the Winnipeg Jets on January 3, 2015 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Jets defeated the Leafs 5-1. (Photo by Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, ON- NOVEMBER 14: James van Riemsdyk  (Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON- NOVEMBER 14: James van Riemsdyk  (Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /

Trade #31 – Toronto trades Tomas Kaberle to Boston Bruins for Joe Colborne, 2011 1st Round Pick (Rickard Rakell) & 2012 conditional 2nd Round Pick – February 18, 2011

Thoughts: If the Leafs didn’t eventually trade away the Rakell pick this could have been an A+ deal, but overall they got a good package for Kaberle here.

Grade: B+

Trade #32 – Toronto trades John Mitchell to New York Rangers for 2012 7th Round Pick – February 28, 2011

Grade: C – 

Trade #33 – Toronto trades 2012 2nd Round Pick to Colorado Avalanche for John-Michael Liles – June 24, 2011

Grade: D –

Trade #34 – Toronto trades 2011 1st Round Pick (Rickard Rakell) and 2011 2nd Round Pick (John Gibson) to Anaheim Ducks for 2011 1st Round Pick (Tyler Biggs) – June 24, 2011

Thoughts: Hinesight is 20/20 and you never know what draft picks will turn into, but Burke essentially traded a 30-goal scorer and starting NHL All-Star goaltender for a tough-guy who could barely crack an AHL team… YIKES!

Grade: F – – – – –

Trade #35- Toronto trades 2011 6th Round Pick (Josh Manson) to Toronto for 2012 6th Round Pick – July 3, 2011

Grade: D

Trade #36 – Toronto trades 2012 4th round pick to New Jersey Devils for Dave Steckel – October 4, 2011

Grade: C

Trade #37 – Toronto trades Luca Caputi to Anaheim Ducks for Nicolas Deschamps – January 3, 2012

Grade: C

Trade #38 – Toronto trades Keith Aulie to Tampa Bay Lightning for Carter Ashton – February 27, 2012

Grade: C+ 

Trade #39 – Toronto trades Dale Mitchell to Anaheim Ducks for Mark Fraser – February 27, 2012

Grade: B 

Trade #40 – Toronto trades 2012 conditional 7th Round Pick to Winnipeg Jets for Jonas Gustavvson – June 22, 2012

Grade: C

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Trade #41 – Toronto Maple Leafs trade Luke Schenn to Philadelphia Flyers for James Van Riemsdyk – June 23, 2012

Thoughts: Burke’s last trade as G.M. with the Toronto Maple Leafs may have been his best deal. ‘JVR’ provided four 20-goal seasons in Toronto, including a career high 36 in 2017-18, while Schenn was never the same player he was early into his Leafs career.

Grade: A +

Overall, Brian Burke was a terrible general manager, but when you lay it all out like this, it looks even worse than you remember.  He made a lot of trades and only two of them were any good, but not good enough to account for setting the team back for years by trading away two likely hall of famers for Phil Kessel.