Brian Burke Thinks Nik Antropov Needs Change of Scenery
On Monday afternoon, Burke appeared on Toronto's AM 640 and discussed the teams plans for its upcoming unrestricted free agents, including forwards Dominic Moore and Nik Antropov.
After discussing how accountability had disappeared in Toronto over the past couple of seasons, and how "mediocre efforts were acceptable," Burke was asked how difficult it would be to attract potential free agents to Toronto since the team is currently in a rebuilding mode.
Burke seemed upbeat, citing the fact the team will have cash and cap space, unlike several contenders. Translation: if you don't care about winning and would like to get overpaid, come to Toronto!
As for dealing with his own free agents, Burke gave a rather ringing endorsement for Moore, saying that it would be "foolish" to not explore their options when it comes to re-signing him. Moore, 28, is having a career-year for the Leafs, having already set new career-high's with 11 goals, 23 assists and 34 points through 53 games.
On the topic of Antropov, however, he didn't seem quite as eager to bring him back into the mix for 2009-10.
"I have not had a chance to talk to his agent about a future here," said Burke. "From my take at this point, I don't see any reason to put a new contract offer on the table here ... I think it just might be time for a change of scenery for Nik Antropov. I'm going to sit down with him in the next week or so and we'll talk about that and see. I have a harder with that because I don't think his play has merited that discussion to this point, where some of the other players have."
A couple of weeks ago, Burke seemed disgusted with the trade proposals he had received from his counterparts around the league, essentially calling them a bunch of junk. I can't imagine the offers getting any better, at least when it comes to Antropov, after such a glowing review. He basically came out and said, we're not keeping him because he stinks.
Beyond that, why would it be "foolish" to not explore all options with Moore, a journeyman having a career year, as opposed to Antropov, the team's No. 2 scorer the past two seasons?
Granted, it's certainly fair to say that Antropov hasn't lived up to expectations throughout his career in Toronto (because he hasn't), and maybe a change of scenery would help. Still, it seems a tad bizarre that he's impressed by an obvious outlier season from Moore, yet willing to toss Antropov aside like he's the guy that's bounced between four teams over the previous four seasons, averaging about seven goals in the process.
Of course, it could just be the beginning of Burke's inevitable North American roster transformation.