The Toronto Maple Leafs relieved general manager Brian Burke of his duties Wednesday afternoon.
Former Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Dave Nonis will be taking over for Burke as the general manager. Burke will remain on as a senior advisor to the club, according to Tom Anselmi, President and CEO of MLSE.
Burke's dismissal comes just three days before training camp is expected to begin for the 2012-13 NHL regular season.
The Leafs did not make the Stanley Cup Playoffs during Burke's tenure, which began in Nov. 2008, when he was hired as president and general manager. Burke, was the first American-born general manager in the history of the franchise. The Leafs had a 128-132-42 record under Burke.
The Maple Leafs also went through a recent ownership change as the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan sold its stake of the team to a partnership comprised of Rogers Communications and BCE, Inc. The sale became official in June.
Burke's early transactions, including the trade for Phil Kessel and the five-year contract he gave defenseman Mike Komisarek in July 2009, did not help the Leafs.
The Kessel trade will likely be what Burke is remembered for most in Toronto. He acquired the goal-scorer from the Boston Bruins in Sept. 2009 in exchange for the Leafs first- and second-round draft picks in 2010 and their first-round pick in 2011.
The Bruins parlayed those picks into Tyler Seguin, who helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2011 and then put up 67 points last season, Jared Knight and top defense prospect Dougie Hamilton, who was the ninth pick in the 2011 Draft.
Hamilton played for Team Canada at the 2013 World Junior Championships and is expected to compete for a roster spot with the Bruins starting next week.
Kessel, 25, has produced three 30-goal seasons for the Leafs.
Komisarek is a minus-30 in Toronto and was often a healthy scratch last season.
Toronto went from an 81-point team in 2008-09 to a 74-point team in 2009-10, when it finished last in the Eastern Conference, setting up the Bruins to draft Seguin.
The Leafs' best season under Burke was 2010-11, when they finished No. 10 in the Eastern Conference with 85 points. Toronto was 13th last season with 80 points.
Burke is also responsible for drafting forward Nazem Kadri with the No. 7 pick in 2009. Kadri has struggled to stay on the NHL roster and has only 18 points in 51 NHL games, including just seven points in 21 games last season.
Late last season Burke also fired coach Ron Wilson and replaced him with Randy Carlyle. Burke and Carlyle were the general manager and coach, respectively, for Anaheim in 2007, when the Ducks won the Stanley Cup.
The Maple Leafs went 6-9-3 last season under Carlyle, who remains the head coach.
Assistant GM Dave Nonis is the replacement.
Why now? Why not a few months ago? Strange!
He was supposed to bring Toronto a cup and he just put them further in the toilet. Good riddance!
If Nonis is still there, the Leafs won't be winning anytime soon.
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