Sources close to the Toronto Maple Leafs say the team was "caught off guard" by the news Brian Burke had been replaced as general manager of the Anaheim Ducks.
In explaining his decision, Burke stated his boss, Ducks CEO Michael Schulman, is expected to file a document with the NHL permitting teams to speak to Burke about his future.
The Maple Leafs may be first in line, but what is being made clear is that there will be a process and Burke's hiring in Toronto is not, according to source, a "slam dunk."
Amid speculation yesterday something was going down in Anaheim, TSN asked MLSE president Richard Peddie via e-mail if Toronto had once again requested permission to speak with Burke. Peddie responded by stating, "the search is on hold until the spring."
However today's announcement undoubtedly changes that and, with other names like San Jose's Doug Wilson, Detroit's Ken Holland and Nashville's David Poile still being tossed around as potential candidates at the end of the season, Burke's hiring in Toronto may depend on his expectations, both financially, as well as the autonomy he is sure to demand.