Like it Or Not, Ex Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke Is Right

Of course he's right, he's way smarter than anyone in the current organization
2023 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Celebration
2023 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Celebration / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Ex Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke appeared on the radio this week and made a statement that has proven controversial despite it being 1200% correct.

The Toronto Maple Leafs made the mistake of firing Brian Burke, one of their best ever GM, and handing the keys to the franchise over to Dave Nonis who turned out to be one of their worst.

What made Burke so great was his understanding of parity and the need to take big risks in order to differentiate yourself from the pack.

From Chris Pronger to Daniel and Henrik Sedin to Phil Kessel, Brian Burke has shown that big and bold is the way to go in the, which I wrote about last month, re-assessing his term in Toronto which I now view much more positively than I used to.

But that is besides the point. This week, Burke came out from wherever he usually hangs out to make his annual announcement that the Leafs should trade William Nylander.

Like it Or Not, Ex Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke Is Right

It's kind of funny, because Burke has literally appeared in front of the Toronto Media every single year lately and suggested that the thing to do is trade Nylander.

For a long time I made fun of this and wrote it off as sour grapes.

And for a long time, he was wrong.

But this year? Not so much.

Whatever has happened to invert their respective careers in the eyes of the public, Mitch Marner is a significantly better player than William Nylander.

He is better offensively, better defensively. He's younger, faster, smarter and while Nylander is a clearly awesome player, Mitch Marner is a no-doubt Hall of Famer who, if not traded, will end his career as the second-best player in Toronto Maple Leafs history, after only Auston Matthews.

If the Leafs have to make a change to the Core Four; if the Leafs have to re-arrange their roster and change their strategy, it's obviously Nylander who should go instead of Marner.

Sure, he recently signed a new deal, and sure, he's experiencing a lot of love from the team and its fans right now, but trading Nylander is at least reasonable. He's great, and you probably still lose the trade, but Marner is on another level, and if you don't realize that you are wrong.

It is not my opinion that Mitch Marner is better than William Nylander, it is a fact.

If Nylander would be hard to trade: he's expensive and he has a no-movement clause. But you could force his hand if you had to. I'm not saying you should.

My personal choice would be too keep both.

But, if you absolutely are forced to "make changes" then clearly Mitch Marner is not the guy you trade. The fact that we're even talking about his is ridiculous.


Mitch Marner is untouchable on any competently run team. And Burke is right.