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Why Burke Is So Critical of Addition of Joe Thornton to Maple Leafs

Former GM and now-analyst Brian Burke called out the Toronto Maple Leafs for their addition of Joe Thornton. Why he doesn’t like the deal.

We’ve covered extensively the addition of veteran center Joe Thornton to the Toronto Maple Leafs roster this offseason. Some have questioned the Leafs decision to offer opportunities to as many veterans as they have, but most have called the Thornton deal a pretty safe bet. For $700K, how can the team go wrong?…

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Unfortunately, an admittedly huge Leafs fan and someone who would know how to build a team thinks the Maple Leafs made a mistake. Former NHL GM and now hockey analyst Brian Burke is criticizing the Leafs for the Thornton addition and he can’t quite wrap his head around why the organization did the deal.

Burke was a guest on the uber-popular Spittin Chiclets podcast and he said he just doesn’t understand the Leafs decision to go out and sign Thornton. He noted he’s a huge fan of the person, he’s just not a huge fan of that move.

Said Burke during the podcast:

“So go back to Joe Thornton… this is a rock and a hard place for me because I love Joe Thornton as a player and I like him as a person, I don’t see a fit here this doesn’t make sense to me It doesn’t make sense to me, where is he gonna play? Who is he gonna play with? Whose job is he taking? What kind of look do they have [for] him?”

Saying Thornton was on the “back 9, he might be putting on 17”, he labeled Thornton as someone who is still an effective player but getting older and filling a role the Leafs didn’t need filled. When he described Thorton as a player, Burke added, “I just described Jason Spezza, now they’ve got two of them, I don’t get it.”

While his leadership won’t be in doubt, there certainly has been some debate about whether or not Thornton will be able to handle third-line duties in Toronto and if his speed will be an issue.

Burke Liked Some of the Other Maple Leafs Moves

Burke was only really critical of the Thornton signing. He said he was a fan of Toronto adding T.J. Brodie and Wayne Simmonds because both made sense from a financial standpoint and from a needs perspective. The Leafs made it a priority to add a little sandpaper and improve their defense. They did so with those two moves.

That said, Burke while argued for the Simmonds and Brodie deals, he maintained the Leafs should remained focused on filling needs and not adding an aging center when they already have one in Spezza.

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