Blog Entry

Burke's big day shared by all

Posted on: January 31, 2010 2:40 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2010 3:20 pm

Could it be there was red in the sight line of Brian Burke?

After all everyone knows his Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t very good. Another loss in a season that’s been filled with them, even if it officially made them the worst team in the East, well that alone should not have stirred an outsize reaction.

Then again the embarrassment of blowing a three-goal lead at home did come on national television.

And it was delivered by one of the teams Burke previously served as general manager and has a frosty relationship with now.

Worse, one of the Vancouver Canucks' game heroes was the backup goalie recently run out of Toronto.

It does sound like a ‘last straw’ kind of thing, doesn’t it? A perfect storm if you will for someone who has been itching to shake things up.

Well, hockey fans, stand up and say thank you for that. The concept of the in-season blockbuster trade has all but disappeared in the salary cap era, and if nothing else, the seven-player deal Burke pulled off with the Calgary Flames proves it still is possible.

Of course it helps to have the kind of financial leeway that Burke has to take on big salaries. Besides, Burke has never opposed making a big splash. And his centerpiece acquisitions – defenseman Dion Phaneuf from Calgary and goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere from Anaheim –  do just that. They may not actually make the Maple Leafs better, but their arrival will at least keep the people intrigued and that never a bad thing.

Toronto’s newcomers are big names. Phaneuf, who came along with forward Fredrik Sjostrom and a prospect, was the Norris Trophy runner-up two seasons ago at 22, while Giguere won the 2007 Stanley Cup with Burke in Anaheim and was the playoff MVP four years earlier when the Ducks lost in the Finals. Neither player though is arriving in Toronto at the peak of their game.

Phaneuf is a high-end talent having a decent season, but after he signed a lucrative contract extension last year, there are a lot of questions about his intensity and attitude coming from a rabid hockey market. That won’t get any easier in Toronto. Giguere, meanwhile, lost his starting job in last season’s playoffs to understudy Jonas Hiller, and has struggled in limited action this season. He has one more year left on a deal that pays $7 million per, so he became expendable over the weekend when the Ducks signed Hiller to a four-year, $18 million extension.

Scenery changes could be good for both of them, but in the meantime, Toronto’s trading partners did pretty well for themselves. Maybe even better.

The Flames have been tired of Phaneuf’s act for weeks, and wanted to leverage him into some much-needed offensive to help in their desperate drive for a playoff spot. Calgary managed that and cleared some more cap space by adding Niklas Hagman, who already has 20 goals, Matt Stajan, who is getting close, and Ian White, who has turned into one of the most under-rated two-way defenseman in the NHL over the last couple of seasons. And there was even another body thrown in with Jamal Mayers coming along.

For their part, Anaheim got Giguere’s salary off the books for next year and a veteran forward with some speed to help its drive to the playoffs.

The Ducks picked up goalie Vesa Toskala and forward Jason Blake in the deal, but Toskala will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and isn’t likely to be re-signed unless he takes a drastic cut in pay. Blake did not live up to expectations after signing a big free-agent deal in Toronto, and he has two more seasons at $4 million each. He has been a 40-goal scorer in the past and getting out of the spotlight of Toronto could re-energize him.

Category: NHL

Since: Dec 18, 2009
Posted on: February 8, 2010 4:30 pm

Burke's big day shared by all

I'm surprised that you don't think that out of Paradis, Mikus, Kadri, D'Amigo, Aulie, and Champagne that the Leafs won't be able to develop at least two top 6 players (Dmen/Forwards/or one of each)?  And people complain about losing Stajan and Hagman??
These prospects are the highest talent players the Leafs have had in development in the last, oh, 10 years, after they called up Kaberle. The team on the ice right now are the majority under 26 years of age - at least the kids they are keeping. 
How much young talent did Carolina have other than Staal - in net (Ward) and a stout D-line.  TB won the Cup with St. Louis and Lecavalier, Andrychuk as the captain but relied on the Boulin Wall in net and a stout D-line.  The Leafs don't develop talent as well as Detroit, but who does?  Even though Washington is leading the standings, people question if they can win the Cup without better D-men and cultch goaltending from Theodore.
If the Leafs develop the proper offensive talent with the young prospects they have, and the Monster develops into a clutch goaltender, they can compete in approx 3-5 years (depending on how fast the youngsters develop)...
When you think of a core that is made up of Phaneuf, Kessel, Schenn, Kadri, Bozak, and Gustavsson (all 25 or younger) - plus the other kids in the minors, most people would be pretty optomistic about the future...

Since: Jun 30, 2007
Posted on: February 1, 2010 7:48 pm

Burke's big day shared by all

and ahhhh FYI T.O born and raised thank You .............. bin at it a little longer than you little man

Since: Jun 30, 2007
Posted on: February 1, 2010 7:46 pm

Burke's big day shared by all

Very high talent levels ......... based on what ???????   Tampa had Stamkos Lecalvier and much more ...Carolina Stall  Anaheim Getzlaf and Perry .... you comparing T.O's young talent to that ......... ah I think T.O is just hoping one of those young guys can hang on a fourth line !!!

Since: May 28, 2007
Posted on: February 1, 2010 6:51 pm

Burke's big day shared by all

Ad_Rock if you will notice the negativity is coming from non-Leaf fans who don't get to see the horrendous effort every Saturday night on CBC. I am not a Leaf fan, rather a Red Wings fan, but I love hockey and unfortunately I see the Leafs play far more than the Wings. What I see is that they were never going to win with the guys they had, so moving them is no real loss. Getting Phaneuf and Giguere is huge for the reasons you pointed out. The team is going to get better than what they are, even if the people from Florida, Buffalo and wherever else don't understand that when rebuilding you need to build around stars and get guys who have been there so they can teach the young how to be stars. These two deals are huge for the future of the Leafs. I hope to see a Red Wings-Leafs Cup in the not too distant future.

Since: Jul 15, 2009
Posted on: February 1, 2010 3:59 pm

Burke's big day shared by all

Kaberle's been a preamble trade deadline candidate for ohhhhhhh.............about 6 years lol

Since: Dec 18, 2009
Posted on: February 1, 2010 3:01 pm

Burke's big day shared by all

Wow... I didn't expect to see as much negativity towards the trade as this, since, well what did Leafs REALLY lose in the deal?  The team they were putting out night after night are the second worst team in the league.  (Poor Oilers).  So why so much resistance to keeping the team how it is?  They traded their best performing players - who are barely able to keep the team fighting for 2nd to last place in teh conference.

He gives up Blake and Toskala, two players that do not work into Toronto's plans for rebuilding and who had poor contracts (esp. Blake), and gain a better mentor for Gustavsson in Giggy.  JSG is the 'workhorse' type of player that continually works to get better - think Gary Roberts type tenacity and work ethic, but in a Goaltender sense.  One of the biggest things that the Monster needs to work on is getting his body ready for a full NHL season and learning the NHL goaltending game.  Plus, JSG is a huge buy-in to Allaire's goaltending coaching, that can only help Jonas keep with it.  And don't forget, JSG is both a Stanley Cup winner and Conn Smythe winner - that sort of winning veteran experience will only help.

As with the other trade, the easy winner of any trade is who gets the best player, and while the jury is still (sorta) out on that one, Phaneuf easily has the most potential of any of the players in the trade. Plus, getting other youngsters Sjostrom and Aulie keeps the Leaf talent pool relatively deep and very young.  People complained about Stajan being young and good, but he's not a #1 center on any contending team - and he's 2 years older than Phaneuf.  Hagman is a good player that will help a play-off contender, not a rebuilding team with it's best players under the age of 25 - and might as well trade him when his value is high.  Ian White is a talented, albeit, undersized defenseman, however, with Kaberle still the #1 puck-moving defenseman, and Gunnersson coming up in that role, he was unfortunately expendable.  As well, hopefully, Schenn will learn to improve his game from Phaneuf's - at least in the physicality department.

Sjostrom takes Stajan's place on the PK, Phaneuf the #1 shooting point man on the PP1, and Gunnarsson/Stepniak and Beauchemin on the PP2.  Bozak gets more playing time, as does Wallin, Mitchell, and most likely call-ups for Hanson & Stalberg. 

The top 6 D are Kaberle, Phaneuf, Beauchemin, Gunnarsson, Komisarek, Schenn - with Exelby, Finger, and Frogren for depth, and Aulie & Mikus developing.  Of those, only Kaberle will attract any modicum of true interest and talent.  Of course, Burke won't ask Kaberle to waive his no-trade clause, but I think Kaberle may approach Burke with a list of teams that he wouldn't mind being dealt to - like Sundin or Halladay - if he hasn't already.  Kaberle deserves to be on a contender, and the Leafs won't anytime soon, but he's keeping the Leafs a legitimate team (by leading them in scoring) and as a leader - so if he wants to be traded or he wants to wait out his contract, Burke is fine with either.

Obviously, Burke has Ponikarovsky, Stepniak and Kaberle as his remaining trade chips, though I doubt he'll settle on draft picks for any of them, but he may if he feels like it helps them in the long run... which is probably the most important thing to remember.
Burke's looking to the future - building from the ground up - young talent and grit.  It's how he and Nonis won the Cup in Anaheim - and it started with the blueline of Niedermeyer and Pronger. 

The Leafs have D'Amigo, Kadri, Champagne, and Paradis in the system - all who have very high talent levels.  When they develop and mixed with veteran, hard-working, winning, character players (think of the roles of Holstrom, Roberts, or Recchi) - that's a good way to win field a winner up front.  It worked for Tampa Bay, Pittsburg, Carolina, Anaheim and worked for years in Detroit.
Burke not only put his stamp on the team, he's using a formula that few can argue with... so why all the negativity?

Since: Oct 11, 2007
Posted on: February 1, 2010 2:49 pm

Burke's big day shared by all

Giggy isnt done.  Hes got his goalie coach back, and he will fix the flaws in his game.  The biggest one is lack of confidence, which you can always get back.  He was out played at the end of last year by a dam good goalie (Hiller) and this year just hasnt been the same coming off the bench.  Lets also not forget that the ducks have been pretty awful most of this year, so it wasnt all his fault

Phaneauf needed a kick in the ass, and this Trade to Toronto will be just that.  By getting him we are surely going to lose Kaberle, and thats a trade I make any day of the week.  He is much younger, CAN score just as much, and plays much more physical.  Yea yea he messes up in his own zone. They used to say that about Pronger, it can be fixed, thats what coaches are for.

Anyone who says we lost something by giving up Stajan, Hagman, White, Blake, Toskala, and Myers ask your self this. 

"how far did we get with these guys"

Since: Feb 1, 2010
Posted on: February 1, 2010 2:02 pm

Burke's big day shared by all

Well I agree all they have is Kessel and he has proven he can't do it with out a top line player to give him the puck. Also now they are going to have to bring up players from the minors that aren't ready and are not top line players, or they would have been up already! T.O  fans were worried about giving up a lottery pick for Kessel and now it is a given and the Bruins are going to get a top three pick and this trade looks even worse but Burke says he would do it again knowing every thing he knows now, which should lead to all T.O fans to wonder how bad are the leafs going to get before they get better under the new regime. Even better they now have 13 players locked up at 46 million for next year and they still have to pick up another 10 players for 9 to 10 million doesn't look good for next year either.

As for Calgary they did great no top line player except for maybe White and I think they gave him up and got a player with lesser stats and a bigger than life attitude and possibly a cancer in the locker room. White and Stajan can be servicable players that will fit in well and play there part and as for Hagman good contract good player and will give the Flames some secondary scoring and really in today's NHL u need complete teams with well rounded lines and this is what the Flames did. Good job by Sutter and at the same time free's up cap space.

Burke has no vision and well this is just the start it is going to get worse! Glad I am not a Leafs fan!!

Since: Jun 30, 2007
Posted on: February 1, 2010 11:52 am

Burke's big day shared by all

Wow way Giguire became an all star again .... can't find that anywhere in the updates .... Last I saw he sucked and Anaheim couldn't wait to unload him ............... did I miss something .... or is it because he is coming to the leafs he is now an All-Star ...... OK I get it ???

Since: Feb 12, 2008
Posted on: February 1, 2010 11:42 am

Burke's big day shared by all

Same here dude, its coming and coming soon! And he said he builds from the crease out and Kaberle is no Burke type defenseman. I give it a week or two... Big fan of the trade tho two all stars for mediocre bush league 3rd liners and a backup! 

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