A Shake Up In Leaf Land

toronto_maple_leafs_logo

This was supposed to be a “Jersey Shore” post…but I have to apologize to the person who requested it because there has been some recent big news…

I made a predication on here that the Leafs would make the playoffs this year…horrible prediction.  They are lucky not to be in the league’s basement. Thank you Edmonton for sucking a little bit more.

Anyways – after indulging on Saturday night with a snifter or two, I woke up a bit cloudy on Sunday.  I was met with this headline when I logged on to the computer LEAFS ACQUIRE PHANEUF.

Uhhh what?

Seemed out of the blue.  I checked out the trade and it breaks down like this:

Calgary Trades:

Phaneuf
Aulie
Sjostram (or something liek that)

Leafs Trade:

Stajan
Hagman
White
Mayars

In another baffling turn of events the Leafs were part of another blockbuster:

Ananheim Trades:

Giguere

Leafs Trade:

Blake
Toskala.

What a crazy day!

I have questioned and thought about these trades quite a bit – I have wavered between excitement, confusion and indifference…I have decided to stick with excited and here is why.

In the Phaneuf trade – the Leafs have gotten the player with the highest upside by far.  Not even close IMO.  Phaneuf was at one time regarded as a guy you could build a club around.  No offense to any of the players being shipped out by Toronto, but none of them can lay claim to that.

I think Phaneuf will bounce back with the Leafs, I think his recent issues have a lot to do with a reduced role and friction with Calgary’s newest coach (Sutter).  He is also still very young, so he can be a solid building block for a rebuilding Leaf team.

Aulie could be a wildcard in this too – he is a huge young defenseman (6’6) who can really skate.  He won a gold medal with the Canadian juniors last year and played a large role.

The only Leaf I am sad to see go is White – he was playing well this year and has similar stats to Phaneuf for significantly less money.  The fact is when you look at potential though Phaneuf dwarfs him.  Phaneuf is also a bit better in his own end, has a bigger shot and is a lot more physical.

Stajan was a good and productive player, but I think at this point in his career, what you see is what you get.  Hagman again was productive but has pretty much reached his ceiling, great to get some value from him now as he is playing really well.  Calgary will like Hagman, he can do a lot.  As for Mayars he demanded a trade, which is funny to me because there are dozens of hungry young players in the minors that can give you exactly what he does.

This trade means the Leafs have something like 26 million dollars wrapped up in their D..not good but it allows them some flexibility – I think this paves the way for a Kaberle trade that can net a prospect/draft pick AND a top 6 forward.  People might think this is a lot for Kaberle but he is having a great year and lets not forget that the Flyers offered Jeff Carter and a 1st/2nd rounder for Kaberle not too long ago.

I guess the obvious comparison for this trade is the 92 trade that brought Gilmour to the Leafs for a handful of productive players.  The end result – Toronto became a contender and Calgary dropped off the face of the planet for a couple years.  I don’t see this trade being that drastic either way – but I think in the long run Phaneuf will be the name people remember.

The second trade is a bit more simple to break down.  Basically the Leafs get rid of their two most untradeable assets and get a solution back in the form of Giguere.

The Leafs seem to want to sign Gustavvson long term, their issue is they need a veteran goalie to take some pressure off him as he acclimates to the North American game. Toskala for whatever reason hasn’t been able to do that.  Giguere is pretty expensive and not nearly as elite as he once was…but he is a definite upgrade over Toskala, and he only has one more year remaining on his deal.

The fact that Anaheim took on Blake’s contract is a freaking miracle.  All you ever hear about was how untradeable Blake was because he didn’t produce and was overpaid.  I can’t believe someone took on his deal.  Thanks Anaheim.

Now losing Blake, Hagman and Stajan does make one wonder – where does Toronto get offense?  Well that was the question before the season too. While their production will be missed it is clear by the Leafs record that they are a work in progress, I have to assume that Burke will address offense through free agency and more deals (i.e. Kaberle).  He is also the king of working the College ranks to sign undrafted players.  I do wish we had our 1st rounder this year though…that one hurts.

In conclusion – I never thought I would wake up and find Phaneuf on the Leafs.  I also think Giguere addressed a need and allowed us to unload some dead weight.  I don’t think the Leafs are fixed or even close, but I think this is a good start.  Something had to be done and Burkey isn’t the type of guy to tinker around…we wanted Burke, and we got him, so lets see where this crazy ride takes us.



blog comments powered by Disqus