The Search for the Next Sabres GM: Brian Burke

Up until this point we’ve only looked at candidates that have been in contact with the Buffalo Sabres and Pat LaFontaine, but the latest rumour is that LaFontaine is looking for a GM candidate with more experience. One of the most experienced people who is a “free agent” right now is Brian Burke.

It makes sense that LaFontaine is looking for a GM with a little more experience since he himself turned down the Buffalo Sabres GM position because he didn’t have any experience, so why would he hire someone with little GM experience?

Today we’re looking at Brain Burke the former GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks, all three teams he helped “rebuild.” As tough and stubborn as Burke is, he’s a great hockey mind who knows how to build contending teams and thats exactly what the Buffalo Sabres need. He also was the GM of Team USA for the 2010 Olympics and the Hartford Whalers.

During his time with the Vancouver Canucks he managed to build the Canucks into a championship team by acquiring both Henrik and Daniel Sedin in the draft and signing Ryan Kesler. The Canucks captured the division title during Burke’s tenure and finished with a 219-181-68-24 record. Till this day the Canuck are still a force to be reckoned with in the NHL and have since been to the Stanley Cup Finals, but without the Sedin twins none of that would have been possible.

After his time with the Canucks, Burke moved on to the Anaheim Ducks where he lead the team to a Stanley Cup Championship in 2006-2007. Burke was also responsible for the re-signing of Teemu Selanne and the acquisition of Chris Pronger.

After winning the Cup Burke stepped down as the Ducks GM allowing his right-hand man Dave Nonis to fill the role as Burke headed out to Toronto to become the GM of the Leafs.

His time with Leafs was well documented, from his struggles with the media to rebuilding the team his name was always in the media. Regardless of what the media said about Burke and his attitude, he did a great job rebuilding the Leafs and has turned them into a contending team. The team wearing blue and white right now is pretty much the team that Burke built.

He made the big trade brining Phil Kessel to Toronto in exchange for what would become Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton which was a win for the Leafs based on what has come of the two other players. He also brought Dion Phaneuf to Toronto to become the captain and help stable the blue line.

Brian Burke has a solid track-record for rebuilding teams and making teams better than when he found them. He can be a very controversial figure but he knows hockey and how to build a team by acquiring solid players through free agency. Brian Burke knows how to get exactly what he wants and wont let anyone stand in his way. His no-nonsense style of management will clash with Terry Pegula and Pat LaFontaine, but what good is a bunch of “yes men” if no one can actually build a hockey team? Burke will rebuild the Sabres prospect system, improve drafting and get motivated players who are proud to wear the blue and gold.

Burke is currently with the Calgary Flames as a hockey operations director but should be available for the Buffalo Sabres GM position if both parties were interested. Brian Burke would be a solid GM for the rebuilding Sabres, what do you think of the possibility of Brian Burke becoming the next Buffalo Sabres GM?



Tags: Brian Burke Buffalo Sabres Gm

  • Craig C.

    I’d be happy to have him, but question whether this would ever happen.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Same here

    • Jes

      Burke, Botterill or Messier are the guys I want in here.

  • Ben Chalker

    I could see it happen, although it might depend on what promises he’s been made in Calgary and how much time Jay Feaster has left over there, as Calgary are in pretty much the same boat as the Sabres, only minus the slightly better stocked cupboard of draft assets

    • MadSprite

      Calgary has an outstanding cupboard of draft picks and assets. The Heat are kicking butt in the AHL and a lot of that has to due with what Feaster has done since he took over as GM after Daryl Sutter was relieved of his ineptitude as a GM. (Don’t get me wrong, Sutter is an outstanding coach, but he was a horrible GM.) They have some very prominent guys playing in Hockey East for Boston and Providence as well as guys tearing it up in the WHL and QMJHL. Eventually, the Flames will get it turned around, and it will be sooner, rather than later. My point here is that I don’t suspect that Feaster will be gone. So, then it falls to whether or not the Flames might be willing to release Burke from his apparently figure head contract with the team.

      • Caitlin Campbell

        Burke would have more to work with in Calgary than Buffalo. Buffalo would be like his situation in Toronto where he started from scratch

        • Jes

          Nah Caitlin its pretty much down the line with CGY and BUF. Both teams are basically starting from scratch.

          • Caitlin Campbell

            Flames have more prospects though

          • Jes

            What do you mean? Like more prospects on there team?

    • Caitlin Campbell

      exactly it all dependes on what he’s been promised in Calgary and whether Pegula can lure him away.

  • Johntrice Smith

    Brian Burke is currently President of Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames. Why would he leave that position to step down to be a General Manager? Why would the Calgary Flames let him out of his current contract to do so?

    • Jes

      Well I’m sure teams always let go of personnel if they wish to pursue other opportunities. Whether it be a lower ranking job.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I believe if Burke wanted the job he would be free to take it… or the Flames would let him go as he has an opportunity to go to another team and be a GM

  • astonisher

    If they want to go with experience (which they definitely should), they have to hire Neil Smith. Even if Burke’s available, and he’s not, he’s a polarizer, not the right guy for the Sabres. The Sabres fan base deserves an experienced, winning GM, not a guy learning to lead like somebody else’s assistant..