Sunday, January 31, 2010

Maple Laffs: Major Shakeup

The day after blowing a 3-goal lead to lose to the Canucks 5-3, the Toronto Maple Leafs make trades with Anaheim and then with Calgary in rapid succession.  The net result of all of this is as follows:

Leafs Get:
J.S. Giguere
Dion Phaneuf (10g)
Fredrik Sjostrom (1g)
Keith Aulie (prospect D-man)

Leafs Send:
Ian White (9g) to CAL
Matt Stajan (16g) to CAL
Jamal Mayers (2g) to CAL
Niklas Hagman (20g) to CAL
Jason Blake (10g) to ANA
Vesa Toskala to ANA

Instant reaction - where is Toronto going to get any offense?  Burke has basically said goodbye to this season unless J.S. Giguere can recapture the magic with his old goalie coach and become the player he was when he won the Stanley Cup back in 2007.  Calgary gets a much-needed pivot in Stajan and an extremely cap friendly contract in Niklas Hagman (just $3M per thru 2012 for a guy who appears to be a borderline 30-goal man).  I have to say I like how Burke is working here.  In a short period of time, he has assembled a tough, skilled group of D-Men to build around with Komisarek, Kaberle (soon to be moved - see below), Phaneuf and Beauchemin (he also has Schenn and Finger under contract for next year) and he got rid of dead weight in Blake to shore up his goaltending for this year and next with the tandem of Giguere/Gustavsson.

I love this from a Bruins perspective because these moves are to gear up for the future and have made them a poorer team this year.  Carolina is playing great hockey and the Leafs are officially now in 29th place in the NHL which would guarantee the Bruins one of the big three in the draft this year if they finish in this position.

What this also means is one of Burke's defensemen is going to be moved.  As it stands now, he has roughly $23.5M in cap room committed to 6 defensemen for next year.  When you combine this with the $6M cap hit that Giguere will have next year, he will have nothing left to pay forwards.  Therefore, I have to assume he is going to try and cash in at the deadline or before with Tomas Kaberle and I also have to assume the Bruins will be VERY interested.  The Bruins could be in position to pay Burke enough to wrestle Kaberle and Ponikarovsky from him - Chia won't give up Toronto's 1st Rounder, but he still has Boston's 1st and 2nd and Toronto's 2nd to offer...not to mention Toronto's 1st in 2011.  Chiarelli will have to send some cap space back his way to make things fit which would mean Ryder, but I can see such a move on the horizon and I think it would do a great job of addressing the B's weaknesses.

However, Burke did maintain that he is not going to ask Kaberle to waive his no-trade clause (about 6 minutes into the video of his press conference)

At any rate, I love today's news because it could lead to all kinds of jockeying before the unofficial FIRST trading deadline before the Olympic Break roster freeze.  It's fun to be a hockey fan when blockbusters start getting made in the last day of January.

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