Leaving the Coop

Brian Burke will not be returning as the Ducks’ GM next year, says ESPN. A press conference this afternoon will reveal the nature of his resignation and officially move Bob Murray, who is still at the moment the GM of the Iowa Chops, into Burke’s position. Under NHL rules a GM cannot take over another team in the same year without the former team’s blessing, and it’s been reported that Anaheim has been quite reluctant to do so.

Burke has publicly stated that family is one of the major factors in his decision, with children on the east coast from his previous marriage. Burke’s wife, reporter Jennifer Mather, was reportedly having difficulties finding work in California. A move to Toronto, as any other destination would come as a surprise, allows Burke to be closer to his children and provide new opportunities for his wife to find work.

The Ducks have the ability to prevent Burke from taking the Leafs’ GM position, but only until the summer.

More to follow.

FOLLOW UP: It seems as though Burke will stay on, and it’s not a sure fire deal that he will end up with the Leafs. There’s been speculation that Burke will stay as a consultant to Murray for the time being and then take over the Rangers after Glen Sather departs. Burke does have ties to New York, as his children from a previous marriage still reside in New England, and also previously worked for the NHL’s head office. It has also been revealed that Jim Rutherford was actually offered the Leafs job a year ago, but turned it down to stay in Carolina

With the transfer of power to Murray, you have to wonder where Dave Nonis, whom Burke hired shortly after he was fired in Vancouver, fits into the master plan. Nonis was groomed by Burke to be his successor after his departure in Vancouver, and it’s a little odd that Nonis wasn’t handed the reigns in Anaheim. Of course Murray is the more experienced of the two, but this non-move has also fueled speculation that Nonis will follow Burke to his next destination, wherever that may be.