Burke agrees to six-year Leafs deal


The Toronto Maple Leafs have a called a 2 p.m. news conference for Saturday where they will formally introduce Brian Burke as the team’s new president and general manager.

Hockeycentral’s coverage of the Burke press conference will be streamed live on Sportsnet.ca at 2 p.m. ET.

On Thursday Hockeycentral broke the news that Burke and Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment had agreed on a six-year deal.

The deal is worth about $18 million – the rest of this season and the next five. Also, Burke will report only to the CEO of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, which is currently held by Richard Peddie.

"I am really excited that Brian is able to get this straightened out, if it is true," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said after the Maple Leafs’ 2-1 shootout loss in Ottawa on Thursday night. "He’s done a great job setting the table for Burkie. An unbelievable job.”

It is expected that Cliff Fletcher will remain with the Leafs as a consultant and that Dave Nonis, who was hired by Burke to be a special advisor in Anaheim, will also join the Leafs in some capacity. Nonis had previously been the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks and interviewed for Toronto’s GM job this summer.

Burke is with his family in Boston for the American Thanksgiving.

Burke’s arrival in Toronto has been speculated for nearly a year, when it became apparent that John Ferguson Jr.’s tenure as the Leafs’ GM was doomed. Ferguson was fired in January and replaced by Cliff Fletcher in an interim role.

Burke would become the 13th general manager in the club’s 92-year history. He stepped down as Ducks GM on Nov. 12.

The news comes after months of speculation about Burke’s future.

Burke spent the past three-plus seasons managing the Ducks, leading them to a Stanley Cup title in 2007. He stepped down after declining to sign a contract extension that would take him beyond this season.

His arrival in Toronto will be greeted by a few familiar faces. Burke and coach Ron Wilson are former roommates at Providence College while he and player personnel director Al Coates worked together with the Ducks.

While Burke delivered a Stanley Cup to Anaheim in 2007, it was a different kind of situation than he’ll face in Toronto. The Ducks already had young stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in their system when he arrived, along with No. 1 goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere. The Leafs are nowhere near that rich in talent right now as they begin the process of rebuilding.

The Maple Leafs have already undergone some significant renovations during 11 months with Fletcher at the helm. He has shipped 11 regulars out of town — including a trade earlier this week that saw Alex Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo sent to St. Louis for Lee Stempniak.

With files from CP

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