Brian Burke says the Toronto Maple Leafs are not done upgrading their roster.
The Leafs general manager joined Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown and Michael Grange on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Tuesday to discuss the current state of the team during the NHL’s free agent period.
Burke said that although he was pleased with the players his team selected at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and acquiring forward James van Riemsdyk from the Philadelphia Flyers, the team is still looking to make some moves.
“We need to do some more work,” Burke said. "We had the draft, we’re really happy with how that went. We acquired James van Riemsdyk, (we’re) happy with that acquisition, but we’re not done.
“I’ve said this before… Our group and I include myself, we make more mistakes on July 1 we make the whole rest of the year put together. The money that was handed out and the term that was handed out just didn’t make any sense to me at all. And so we stayed on sidelines other than Jay McClement, which we were happy to add him. Some of the other things, I’m shaking my head. We’ve got cap space, we’ve got money to spend. It’s not a case of losing out, it’s a case of saying ‘I don’t think there’s value there.’"
Burke and the Leafs’ front office were involved in several discussions on July 1 but did not agree with most of the contracts that were handed out. “No, I didn’t like the prices,” he said.
Although the team did little to improve the current roster in free agency so far, Burke believes they can still find help at the goalie and centre position.
“We believe we can upgrade at those positions,” Burke said. “(Goaltending is) something we have not been able to address at a price that makes sense. I would say we have a positional need at centre or increase production in terms of guys we have… we’re looking there and looking in net, if we can upgrade at a reasonable price, but that hasn’t materialized yet. But we don’t need a goaltender until we start playing.”
The goaltender position remains a big priority for Burke as he would prefer to add a veteran and let the Leafs’ young netminders such as James Reimer and Ben Scrivens develop at their own pace.
But at the same time, Burke said he is not interested in adding an unproven goaltender in trade or free agency.
“Were not looking at that avenue,” Burke explained. “A couple goalies that moved are young unproven guys. That’s an avenue were not interested in. We’ve kicked the tires, looked at all the prices, but that’s not an avenue we’re looking at.
In addition to the Leafs, Burke also touched briefly on the current collective bargaining talks and the things he hopes the new agreement will address. At the top of his list of problems that need solving was long, front-loaded contracts designed to circumvent the salary cap.
"The salary cap is a system that was designed to build a competitive balance and parity, and I don’t want to be part of cheating that," he said.