Burke Speaks: Drouin, Rielly, Biggs and CBA talks


It’s been too long since the last Brian Burke interview.

Courtesy of Mark Masters’ TSN interview.

On 17-year-old standout and future top 5 pick in 2013 Jonathan Drouin:

I went and watched him earlier in the year and this is a guy that’s rapidly climbing the charts. I mean, he played midget hockey a year ago and I was impressed with him. I think some times when you play with a great player, people attribute your success to that player, but this is a guy that does a lot on his own. He distributes the puck well, he has a real high hockey IQ, he’s got really soft hands, and he can finish, so he is rapidly climbing the charts…. I think he’s going to be in the top three if he keeps going the way he’s going. I was really impressed with him. I went more to watch his teammate but I came away with the impression that there was two players there that are going to be good players in the National Hockey League.

When I went in to see him play, I made a call to Dave Morrison, our chief scout who does a great job for us, and I said ‘I don’t know where we have this kid but we gotta move him up.’ He just showed me so much, even in the first two periods. I called after the 2nd period. He is an impressive player. He has a Dad and brother that are both taller than he his; we think he can still grow some. But really there’s not a weakness in his game. His defensive zone coverage could get a little better, and certainly he needs to get bigger and stronger, but there’s not too many holes in his game.

On Morgan Rielly’s performances for Team Canada:

Obviously his role here is different than his role in Moose Jaw, and when you’re an 18-year-old in this tournament you are not going to get the same situational icetime you get when you’re back home. We certainly accept that, we know he does. I think he’s played well at times, and obviously theyre giving more minutes to other defencemen, but they’re undefeated so nobody can complain about it.

On Tyler Biggs’ play for Team USA:

I think he’s been good in the tournament, I think today might be his best game so far. He’s showing his footspeed, would’ve been nice if he could’ve finished on his breakaway there, but he’s had a couple big hits, they use him killing penalties – which I like as those are IQ minutes, important minutes of the game – and I think he’s coming along nicely.

Is Rielly going to be invited to camp?

I’ve never kept an 18-year-old in my life. I think players in general do better when they go back to junior, but the wildcard with the Toronto Maple Leafs is that Randy Carlyle picks the team. If we get back playing and there is a training camp, he will be invited and if Randy says he wants to keep him, he gets to keep him. That’s the way things work around our team. He was really sharp in our prospects camp and kind of leapt out from all the guys. Real high IQ, great skater, moves the puck well but if there’s no option he can lug it; he’s been very impressive.

On the latest CBA talks:

Obviously the fact that they’re in talking is a good thing. The league has been silent on any progress or lack thereof. I don’t really have a view on it other than, like everyone else in Canada, I’m hopeful we can get the game back on the ice soon.