Brian Burke is fed up with the Dougie Hamilton to Toronto rumours

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been linked to Dougie Hamilton a few times over the past week and change. We documented the history of the rumour in great deal the other day. In the Lou Lamoriello era, such speculation has been rare to the point of it feeling weird to see again, and today, we’ve seen a bit of pushback from the other side.

Brad Treliving talked to the media in Calgary today, and said that rumours that the team is looking into trading him are “completely false”. But Flames President of Hockey Operations and former Leafs GM Brian Burke doubled up on the situation this afternoon, venting his frustrations in the direction of Toronto radio.

Here’s his full rant on TSN 1050’s Leafs Lunch:

Let’s step back. This is one, where it’s very frustrating when you have to deal with leaks. Soon as one of the team is in the mix in the leaks is the Toronto Maple Leafs, it’s an army of leakers, an army of people who have no goddamn idea what they are talking about who will happily go on and say ‘The Toronto Maple Leafs are doing this, and they’re in on that’. This is one where we think we can trace the leak.

We got a call, our GM got a call, Brad Treliving is our GM. He got a call from a team, who shall remain nameless, at least for now, if this goes on much further I’m probably not going to remain nameless, and said ‘Would you move Dougie Hamilton?’ and Tre said no.

We expended a tremendous amount of assets to get this player. We’re really happy with him, he’s a quality guy. He’s 6’5, he weighs 237 pounds, he’s a right shot, he skates like a deer, he’s a good hockey player. Yeah, let’s move him! Let’s get rid of him! It’s not hard to get guys like that.

So we told this team, and by the way, the offer they made was insulting. We told the team ‘No we’re not moving him, and next time you have an idea that stupid, just save the quarter, don’t go to the payphone. That team started telling teams, ‘Yeah, we made an offer on Hamilton’. Now it’s a rumour, it’s got legs. Someone’s like, ‘Well, they must be moving him’

We haven’t offered him to anyone. We don’t intend to move him. If you’ve got the right offer, if someone offers us 20 1st round picks, are we making that deal? Probably, Wayne Gretzky got traded. But the difference between listening, listening attentively, and shopping are different things. Would we listen? Yes, it’s our job to listen. Is he a guy we intend to move? Not a chance. Is that a guy we think will move? Not a chance.

Needless to say, it doesn’t sound he’s very happy. Burke has always been prone to speak his mind, though, especially in a market where that was part of his job for several years.

Now, that doesn’t mean that this rumour is completely off the books. Keep in mind that this was how Marc Bergevin was reacting a week before trading PK Subban to Nashville:


If Burke were to openly admit that Hamilton was on the market, he’d be putting Treliving and his entire team in a state of weakness. While this could be a genuine rejection, this could also be a regaining of control. The Flames were put in the passenger seat as a result of all the gossip involving their own player, and that’s not a position to play from. Burke’s statement of a high, near-untouchable cost also works as a form of negotiation using public exposure. He didn’t completely rule out a move, but made it sound unlikely and one where a team would have to pay out the nose.

Remember that this is the same executive who tried to strong-arm the Islanders into trading him the first overall pick by openly declaring that he wanted to draft John Tavares. In that press conference, he even used the same “Wayne Gretzky got traded” quip as proof that the deal could, in theory, get done (it didn’t and the Leafs drafted Nazem Kadri).

Either way, I’m just curious which team threw out the insulting offer and what it may have been.

  • DukesRocks

    Burke’s fiery personality is getting tiresome. Never liked the guy and for a person in his position, he sure lacks professionalism. Having said that, logically, no matter how desperate I was for offensive help, the last person I would trade is a top 4D right handed shot for a winger. Burke is also right when he states they gave up a lot for Hamilton and frankly I don’t see the Leafs even touching the cost it would take to acquire him.

    The Leaf’s focus should be on teams that have expansion draft exposure problems.

  • JamesY

    Toronto, you seriously need to quit it with this Dougie Hamilton stuff, it’s actually insanely annoying to Flames fans everywhere. I’m not sure Burke could have made it any more clear, and still the writer of this article is trying to find some hidden conspiracy that’s not there. There are only 3 assets the leafs have which are in the same ability+upside stratosphere as a Dougie Hamilton, and their names rhyme with Smatthews, Smarner and Smiley. If you really want one of our Dmen, Dennis Wideman is available!

    • Harte of a Lion

      James, though the rumours appear to start in TO, Toronto didn’t start the rumours, a few bitter reporters and tv analysists did who had nothing better to do who’s names rhyme with Sdreger, Smaclean, Simmons and Sfeschfuck. Simmons and Feschfuck must be bored with playing hide the weenie (hotdog).
      Hamilton is a good dman but not near the quality you hoped for when making the trade however he is still young and should continue to get better.

    • Greg Fenton

      If we want a D-man from the Flames Wideman is available…..

      It always find is amusing when fans talk like this, as if they have any idea what the GM of the team is talking about and who they are and are not willing to give up.

    • Stan Smith

      I find it amusing that you think the Flames #5 dman, making close to $6M, is remotely worth the players whose names rhyme with Smatthews, Smarner and Smiley.

  • FlareKnight

    Well no worries Burke. We were pretty fed up with the mess you left in Toronto after you were fired. So can definitely relate on that level.

    Nothing new here. Burke never had the ability to keep calm or quiet. Rumors come and rumors go. The fact that hte media and even Burke is commenting on it shows it isn’t going to happen. Lou isn’t going to plaster the walls with his plans for improving the team.

    Just random speculation, not a big deal.

  • Jason P.

    Its not the Leafs, its the media. The same media that says we should get rid of Nylander and that Matthew couldn’t score. Everyone needs to start separating the Toronto Sports teams and their fans from the click baiting, gossiping Toronto Media. They don’t speak for us, they try and get us to read their nonsense.

    • DukesRocks

      The same media that boasted Kadri is making the refs look like fools last year, and now Kadri can’t draw any penalties. The same media that stated Kadri ruffed up McDavid a month ago, which led the the refs calling touch fouls on Kadri. Yeah I would say Toronto’s media outlets are detrimental to hogtown’s sports teams.

    • Harte of a Lion

      Jason, the only way to change things is to stop enabling these media idiots. I have not read a Simmons column since he lied about Kessel and the hotdogs and don’t read or listen to Feschfuck since his dressing room run in with Phil the thrill. I normally change channels or hit the mute button during intermissions when idiots like Maclean spew their verbal diarrea.
      If enough fans take action, they will realize that their media BS is not appreciated nor welcome.

    • espo

      because the leafs had nothing really to offer for that pick and Burkie kept trying to bravado his way into trading for it somehow…

      Think it was an example used as a juxtaposition to the idea that Burke is trying to get the Flames back in the driver seat in any potential Hamilton trade. That is to say, that he probably isn’t trying to do it… they’re probably not looking to trade hamilton

        • espo

          Which amounted to Kadri and Jerry D’Amigo… please please please can i give you Tavares for that?

          (for full 2009 draft list check: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihd

          Realistically the trade could have given them Ryan O’Reilly, (who they passed on 2 picks earlier) Marcus Johansson (who they passed on at 11) Jamie Devane (riiiiiiiiiight) Reilly Smith or Tyson Barrie (who they passed on at 61) ditto for Cody Eakin, Mike Kruger, Gabrielle Bourque and Mike Hoffman…

          Only problem with that was the Islanders forgot their crystal ball the same way the Leafs did that year.

          Offering up the Leaf’s weak draft pick roster that year for a Superstar in the making (only knock on him was he wasn’t a great skater… and boy did that change) was never going to happen. Burkie for all his bluster about the Blue and White disease amongst the players maybe forgot to look in the mirror when it came to people over valuing themselves based on fame

          • Tigon

            Yeah it’s the 7 picks he offered, not the players we selected. You can’t say Burke offered Kadri, Kenny Ryan, Jesse Blacker, Jerry D’Amigo, Jamie Devane and the other two players I forgot for Tavares. But you acknowledged that at least.

          • espo

            and I’m saying the quality of where the picks were in the draft mid high 1st 2 late 2nd’s mid range 3rd and a 5th 6th and 7th picks. woo-hoo. the islanders couldn’t afford to trade away yet another great talent for a pocket full of maybe.

          • Tigon

            Valid. But it was still a respect trade offer.

            In a few years we will see if Tavares is still on the Island….or Brooklyn…or the yet another rumoured move. The team just can’t seem to get it together. Reminds me of a lesser version of the Sundin led Leafs. At least the Leafs had good goaltending and better support players. And the players that they developed in Neilsen and Okposo they let walk in favour of Ladd and Chimera!

            I can’t seem to figure out what’s going on with their draft talent too. Nino drafted 5th or so and moved shortly after to Minny for Clutterbuck, Strome rumoured to be shopped, Dal Colle rumours, several busts. People mention Edmonton being terrible outside the first round but when will people start looking at NYI. That team should be better.

  • Brent Wisken

    First of all, the tie constantly draped around Burke’s shoulders and chest looks ridiculous. Perhaps he wants to look like some sort of carefree dude, but it looks contrived. If he can’t put a tie on, leave it in the closet rather than look like a clueless clown. Secondly, Burke just sounds bitter. A few weeks ago he was quoted as saying Toronto has an “overwhelming sense of negativity”, but the comment is so outdated. It was the case while he and Nonis were the general managers, and before that. But since Shanahan arrived, it has been a breath of fresh air. There has been a positive and exciting vibe around the Leafs since last season, which the team has immensely benefited from. The fans have fully bought in and supported the rebuild. Yes, there can be some critiques of certain coaching and management decisions along the way, but it is no worse than in other cities. Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary are currently more weighed down in negativity than Toronto. And Montreal has historically been quite the pressure cooker itself (e.g., Maurice Richard riot). Also, Ottawa attendance is way down. No riots here in Toronto, especially with the fans being a lot more positive after Burke left town.

  • LukeWarmWater

    Burkie never met a microphone that he didn’t love. I got to know the guy quite well out in Vancouver. He had a split personality as he tried to get a good friend of mine the talented Tony Gallagher fired as a Vancouver Province hockey writer. He was known to give vulgar verbal tirades to women who answered his calls for the media. Yep there was that Harold Ballard side of him. But then there was the other side of him. One evening my mother in law and I had some good seats at a Canuck game. By this time she was quite elderly and she almost got hit by a flying puck. She was very upset and the Canuck staff moved her and myself into a comfortable sofa seat area. Burkie came up to me after the game and asked how my mother in law was doing. I said fine and I introduced her to Brian. She explained that she was a huge Canuck fan and her daughter had to marry an idiot leaf fan.

    Burkie invited her to a Canucks practice where she could meet her idol Harold Snepts. She dressed up like she was going to the prom and enjoyed the practice got to hug a sweaty Snepts after the practice and then got to go to Brian’s office in the Pacific coliseum where he gave her an autographed Canuck hockey stick. That day she was on cloud nine.

    She died later that year and I brought the story up during a eulogy I gave her. I told the story on the radio one day and Brian castigated me for ruining his bad boy image.

    Looking at that picture, my old friend who I stated would be a disaster in Toronto and trust me I was roasted for that but proved to be right, looks very worn out and tired. I wish the colorful and larger than life Brian Burke well.