I have read a lot of chatter on Silver Sevens questioning Bryan Murray's possible decision to load up for a playoff run this year. People seem paniced that this would interfere with the "rebuild". That we would trade away future assets for a playoff run now so early in the process, and that we would hurt the long term viability of the franchise. In my best Gob Bluth voice I say C'MON! The whole purpose of the rebuild was to create a playoff hockey team. Surprise! Bryan Murray was right. Last year was an abberation, last year lots of guys had sub par years, last year it seems the majority of the guys were playing for a guy they did not like and/or respect, last year there were a lot of passengers.
Bryan Murray righted that ship and he recieves full credit for doing so. He hired a guy who has to be in the running for the Jack Addams, he traded away a lot of coasters, he promoted a bunch of guys from Bingo with winning pedegree who were now NHL ready and he has a bunch of vets finally playing up to potential again, and has a stockpile of tallented forwards/assets such as Pumpel, Prince, Noesen, Stone, Z-Bad and Pageau in the prospect pool. He has a team sitting in 5th place in the East, 4th if not for the idiotic playoff seeding rules, and is well under the cap when it comes to available cash to sign players he wants to have going forward to new contracts. In short, the ship is righted and Murray deserves full marks for turning this team around in such a short time span. Burke has had 4 years with the Leafs and though there is a little improvement, I still see no strategic vision. Now we are looking at a team that no longer appears to be a fluke or abberation but a legit playoff team. There are teams out there with mre pressing rebuilding needs than Ottawa, (i'm looking at you Ducks) who are looking to trade legit NHL talent. I think Murray would be a fool to just stick with a rebuild mentality and not at least go kicking some tires.
Additionally, lets think about this, if you want to turn your team into a group of playoff warriors for playoff appearances in the future, does it not make sense to blood them as early as you can with playoff experience? It gives you an early chance to separate the shrinking violets from the playoff performers.
Lets be clear, I am not advocating a retooling of the roster, but if your goal is to be in the playoffs and it looks like you are going to get there, why not try to win something once you do. As Terry Bradshaw said in Cannonball run "If you're going to be a bear, be a grizzly"!