Burke certainly will have a nice honeymoon period in his new gig. I figure most everyone understands there's a lot of work to do to turn the Leafs into a legit Cup contender. At some point, though, the expectations of all concerned (ownership, fans and Burke) will be for a championship.
So, the logical question is: Can Burke deliver?
Well, sure, he can do it eventually. But, obviously, it won't be easy. Stanley Cups just don't come easily.
After previous managerial stints in Hartford (remember the Whale!) and Vancouver, Burke was able to lead Anaheim to a title in 2007. Burke is quick to admit he walked into a pretty good situation in that case. The club had already drafted future stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. They already had Conn Smythe-winning stopper Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Plus, they had an ace in the hole (Rob Niedermayer) on the roster when it came to signing free-agent stud Scott Niedermayer.
I thought Burke's best moves in the O.C. were defining the way in which he wanted his Ducks to play, dealing Sergei Fedorov to create much-needed salary-cap flexibility and working quickly to acquire defenseman Chris Pronger from Edmonton.
On the downside, his post-Cup decision to sign free agent Todd Bertuzzi turned out to be an expensive bust that pushed a capped-out roster to the brink. If nothing else, the Bertuzzi signing proved that Burke can be loyal to a fault. (Bertuzzi played for Burke in Vancouver.)
In Toronto, the American-born GM will face tougher challenges. When the honeymoon ends (and we know it will at some point), execs within Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment might quietly push another agenda. That has been part of the problem in Toronto -- too many conflicting agendas.
Burke isn't inheriting any young offensive studs like Getzlaf and Perry, and he doesn't have a proven goaltender or any future Hall of Fame defenders like Niedermayer and Pronger on the current roster.
I don't think Burke will have an easy time in Toronto, but he's an energetic guy who seems up for the challenge. More importantly, he does bring championship experience and smarts. That's a good start. He'll probably need every ounce of both commodities to get the Leafs to where he wants to take them.