In the responses to this Tweet, which you can find by following the link above, Mirtle seems to imply there are those around the league who believe Dallas Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk is on a short leash after four consecutive non-playoff seasons, three during his tenure, and that a move involving Nieuwendyk would leave a Burke-sized hole in the front office.

Now, Mirtle is a well-sourced reporter with The Globe and Mail in Toronto, so I am sure he's actually heard something along these lines. Still, this is the only wisp of smoke with regards to this story line, so I hesitate to even call it a rumor. Perhaps speculation is a better term at this point.

Nevertheless, it is an interesting question to ponder now that the Toronto Maple Leafs have cut ties with Burke, at least in terms of the hockey operations side of their organization. Burke, for all his sandpaper in the media, is a tremendously respected name in hockey circles, and as Bruce Garrioch pointed out, it likely won't be long before he has a new job. Could that job be in Dallas, either alongside Nieuwendyk or in place of him?

First, a note on Nieuwendyk's situation. While three non-playoff seasons on his watch and four total is obviously a situation any organization would look to rectify, the Stars general manager was essentially handcuffed in terms of off-season moves until the team was purchased by Tom Gaglardi during the 2011-12 season. It's difficult to hold him entirely responsible for the team's struggles given those circumstances, and with several recent draft picks/acquisitions panning out well, it's hard to believe Nieuwendyk is on an overly-short leash at this point.

Still, as noted above, Mirtle definitely implies both that the spot for Burke in the Stars organization would be as general manager and that Nieuwendyk may be on the hot seat.

Which brings us to Burke himself. His ties to the Stars are most apparently with Nieuwendyk, as he inherited Nieuwendyk as a special assistant to the general manager in Toronto. The two worked together for a little less than a year before Nieuwendyk left for Dallas.