Word today that Toronto GM Brian Burke is after one of the top two picks in the NHL draft. John Tavares is apparently the target, and the Toronto media is already in mid-flight in terms of getting reaction.
Noteworthy blogger Howard Berger spent some time tracking down the top prospect in the draft (the item is here) and the money quote is this one:
“It’s kind of overwehlming — maybe even a bit shocking, to be honest. For you telling me that — if [Burke] said it — I’m obviously excited that teams are interested, and Toronto would be an unbelievable place to play hockey. There’s probably no better city [in the NHL] for support and atmosphere.”
A couple of things. First, if I’m Garth Snow (NYI GM) this is a nasty piece of business–why on earth would a GM be talking publicly about a guy who may be an Islander by 6:30pm tonight (the lottery goes later this evening) and if this does become an issue when signing said player becomes the next step, is there any kind of action the league should be taking?
I’m all for Burke being in Toronto, the more blowhards in one place the better (Vancouver is much less ridiculous these days) and there’s no real issue with him reminding people he traded up for Pronger and the Sedins (making him a genious, of course).
But there’s something about this that could be construed as possible collusion–especially if Tavares’ agent makes it an issue should the Islanders (or another team aside from Toronto) decide to hold onto the pick and take him. I think the NHL should address this issue for future drafts. It makes the NHL look silly.