Dion Phaneuf a Leaf.

Wow~ It’s like the old NHL is back, almost.

Finally something I can write about. Yesterday, in perhaps the biggest trade since the cap-era, in terms of star-power and number of players, the Calgary Flames shipped Superstar Defenseman Dion Phaneuf to Toronto.

The breakdown to the trade is as following:

Calgary Flames

Player Name Position Age Cap Hit GP G A Pts
Niklas Hagman LW 29 $3M 55 20 12 33
Matt Stajan C 25 $1.75M 55 16 25 41
Jamal Mayers R 34 $1.33M 44 2 6 8
Ian White D 25 $0.85M 56 9 17 26

Toronto Maple Leafs

Player Name Position Age Cap Hit GP G A Pts
Dion Phaneuf D 24 $6.5M 55 10 12 22
Fredrik Sjostrom R 26 $0.75M 46 1 5 6
Keith Aulie D 20 AHL 43 2 4 6

If the value of Sjostrom is similar to that of Jamal Mayers, then the Leafs are getting Dion Phaneuf and a prospect D for Hagman, Stajan and White.

Although the Maple Leafs and the Flames are both experiencing scoring drought and both are playing some terrible hockey, they are in a very different position.

The Leafs are pretty much done for the season. Last place in the East – 45 points with 26 games left, they are the second-worst team in the entire NHL. There would’ve been great hope in landing top prospect Taylor Hall in the upcoming draft, but Toronto traded their pick away to Boston in a deal for Phil Kessel. All hopes are loss, except to save from some humiliation if they can at least climb out of the bottom five, so the fans and media can’t complain about sending Hall to Boston.

The Flames, on the other hand, are still very much in the midst of making the playoffs. If it wasn’t for the recent eight-game losing streak, the Flames might still be ahead in the NW division. A win over the Oilers a couple nights ago may be a turning point, but in any case they will probably make the playoffs, like they always do.However, the goals for the Sutter brothers and the management are much higher than making it to the prom. They want to win it all.

With this in mind, both teams are eager to do something, if they still want a job before the Olympic break. Darryl can’t fire his brother Brent the head coach, after half a season, and Burke can’t fire his fellow US Olympic head-coach Ron Wilson before the Games. So what do you do if you can’t blame the coach?? Make a trade, and a huge one, so the attention is diverted elsewhere.

That’s exactly what happened. If the Flames haven’t lost that eight straight games, no one would’ve thought that Phaneuf is trade-able. The same can be said for Brian Burke for shipping out two of his top four point-getters AND his second best point-producing defenseman for a $6.5M D-man who produced four less points than the one his shipped out.

But of course, that D-man is Dion Phaneuf, and Burke is afterall….Burke, he can do whatever he wants, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a great trade for Toronto. Not so much for the Flames, from where I am looking. Toronto gets a young, physical, and highly gifted superstar in Phaneuf for a couple of second-ranked forward and a mediocre defenseman. Brian Burke is looking into the future, and he doesn’t care that his team is now 80 points fewer in point-production after the trade, the season is over anyways~

For the Flames, I think they made a mistake. I mean Hagman, Stajan and White are decent players, but their point production is exaggerated in a poorly-talented Toronto team. If the Flames are having scoring problems, shouldn’t they look elsewhere than the 2nd-worst team in the league for help?

I mean if Sutter tells every GM that Phaneuf is for sale, I am pretty sure he can get a lot more than Hagman, Stajan and White. If Sutter is willing to package Jokinen with Phaneuf, maybe he can even get Kovalchuk???!!! (Of course, he will need to get Kovie signed, I know, but you get my point.)

According to Burke’s interview, the offer initially wasn’t there, but as time went on, I guess the 8-game losing streak played a huge factor, the offer that wasn’t available suddenly was. I guess this is where Burke is so successful in making deals, he always seems to be able to dig out deals that aren’t there. Making bold offers that other GM might feel humiliated to even ask.

At the end of the day, it never hurt to give it a try, and today Burke was successful in stealing perhaps the best physical defenseman in the game.

Another great deal done by Burke today was the Giguere for Toskala and Blake trade. Everyone knows that Giguere isn’t happy about his shared role in Anaheim, but to be able to land him in T.O. for a 3.66 GAA goaltender and a 35-yr old overpaid player with 2 more season of $3M hit is just brilliant.

What is Bob Murray thinking?? In trying to get rid of his $6M goalie contract, he actually coughed up an extra $2M for a total of $8M cap-hit for a $4M 26-pts 36-yr Left Winger and another $4M goalie with a 3.66 GAA???!!!

Are the ducks any better today, with a $2M extra cap hit?? Nope.

What is it with Burke??? Why do other GMs suddenly become stupid when they deal with him. I mean the Sutter deal I can kind of understand, but the Murray deal is just beyond comprehension.

And Burke says he isn’t done. Maybe, Burke doesn’t need that 1st round pick afterall. Other GMs build their team through drafts, but Burke does it by stealing them.


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