Brian Burke commits to Ducks in 2008-09

Anaheim Ducks general manager Brian Burke confirmed Wednesday that he will remain with the team next season.

Anaheim Ducks general manager Brian Burke confirmed Wednesday that he will remain with the team through next season.

Burke, 52, issued a statement following a morning meeting with Ducks owner Henry Samueli and chief executive officer Michael Schulman.

"We have decided to end all unnecessary media speculation and commit to working together for at least one more year, while continuing to discuss my long-term future with the Ducks," Burke said.

"Brian Burke is the best general manager in the NHL, and we always expected him to return," Samueli said. "Our goal is to sign him to a long-term agreement."

Burke inked a four-year contract as Ducks GM on June 21, 2005.

But rumours abounded that he was coveted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have been searching for a full-time GM since firing John Ferguson Jr. on Jan. 22 and rehiring Cliff Fletcher on an interim basis.

In addition to Burke, Ken Holland, David Poile and Jimmy Rutherford, among others, have been mentioned as possible candidates.

"It is impacting in our marketplace," Burke told reporters in a Wednesday conference call. "To me, this is a prudent way to deal with it.

"We agreed the best thing for the Ducks is to end this media speculation and focus on the remaining year of my contract. We have had extensive discussions on a contract extension [and this] will give us a concrete time frame to see if there was common ground for an extension."

The Toronto Sun reported Tuesday that the Maple Leafs were prepared to offer Burke $23 million US over five years to be GM, but they would require permission from Samueli to speak to him.

"No NHL club has asked permission to speak with me at this time," Burke said Tuesday after Anaheim exited the playoffs.

"Not one team has asked — nor have I asked for permission to speak to any NHL team at this point in time. Unless and until those two things change, or unless and until I arrive at terms for a contract extension here in Anaheim, I have no intention of further discussing my situation."

Anaheim won its first Stanley Cup last season, and ranked fourth overall in the Western Conference this season with 102 points (47-27-8).

But the Ducks were bounced in six games by the fifth-seeded Dallas Stars in the opening round of the playoffs, intensifying speculation that Burke might bolt for Toronto.

Asked what he thought of Anaheim, Burke replied: "I have a great gig here. These people are special.

"They have been absolutely wonderful to me and my wife, and we have put together a pretty special front-office staff and group of players. As I have said all along, there has never been an issue here professionally."

With files from the Associated Press