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Breaking Down the Burkie Deals

Unsung Hero


You've gotta love how Burkie can make a splash. For what it's worth, I don't think the Leafs' collapse against the 'Nucks had anything to do with these deals. Burke said the deals were being worked on before yesterday. Whether Burke will admit it publicly or not, his club's season is a write-off and you don't make major deals like these as a result of a bad game that everyone will have forgotten about in short order. If the Leafs went on to cruise to a 3-0 win last night, Burke would still be making these announcements today.

What this trade means for the teams involved:

Calgary: In the short-terms this trade will help the Flames. There's a tendency to undervalue Leaf players because they're Leaf players. Stajan is a talented offensive player. I expect to see him getting a shot at centring Iginla and whomever on the top line. The Flames of course could use the extra goals that Nik Hagman will bring (he has 20 now, and this will be his third season with 20+). Hagman's 30 so there's not much untapped potential there. Mayers is 35 and what you see is what you get with him -- a tough bottom six forward with little offense. Ian White is somewhate underrated. He has some decent skill and is reasonably steady. At 25, he has some room to grow.

So this year, I see the Flames getting a bump from this trade, though it's not like they got anything to put them 'over-the-top'. This should just help them make the playoffs this year.

In the long run, Flames fan may rue this day. If Dion Phaneuf fulfills his potential in Toronto or elsewhere and has a long career, they may look back and wonder what Sutter was thinking. The players they acquired don't have the kind of upside that Phaneuf has. This was definitely a trade made for the present, in the Flames' case. If anyone pulled the trigger out of desperation here it was Darryl Sutter.

Anaheim: Moving Giguere and his $6 million cap hit of course made sense when he was backing up Hiller. What you saw of Toskala last night was indicative of where he's at in his career. As we saw in the first and most of the second period, Toskala can play well; he's a talented goalie. But what we saw in the third (not that he was to blame for the collapse) was the Toskala who seems to crumble under the bright lights and high pressure of Toronto. Returning to another California team where he doesn't have to worry about the media and rabid fan-base is a good move for him. For the Ducks Toskala may be an ideal backup for Hiller. He's got the ability to run with the ball for stretches if their young starter has any setbacks.

Jason Blake is the kind of player a contending team would like to add at the the deadline for the playoffs. He's a good depth guy who can play a role and move up to the top 6 if needed. His 40 goal season looks to have been a blip but he can still be valuable. If the Ducks fall off and aren't in the playoff race come the real deadline, I can see them moving Blake to a contender.

Toronto: I see this deal as nothing but positive for the Leafs. And I'm not one of those people who praises everything Brian Burke does. In this case they picked up a young D-man with super-stud potential, and a veteran (Stanley Cup-MVP-winning) goalie who can carry the load while their goalie of the future comes into his own. That they were able to pick up a defenseman prospect in Aullie (who I know nothing about) is a bonus. Sjostrom is a usable body to help make up for all the bodies they gave up. Stajan and Myers are unrestricted after this season anyway -- if the Leafs really valued either of them, they could bring them back this summer anyway (not that I see that happening).

It will be interesting to see how Phaneuf performs in Toronto. I grew up watching the Leafs in Toronto and I've seen that city eat young defensemen alive. Phaneuf's no raw rookie, though. I can foresee the increase in the intensity of the spotlight on him actually improving his game. Time will tell.

As for the Canucks, I don't think they need to worry much about any effect this will have on their season. The current gap between where Vancouver is at and where Calgary has been at is so great that this deal makes little difference. I think it may keep the Flames from falling right off the playoff map but I think the Canucks should be setting their sights on getting past the Sharks and Hawks, and not be threatened by the faltering Flames.


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Flames owe the Yotes their first round pick from the Jokinen deal so if they miss the playoffs and they get some kind of lottery pick, there will be calls for sutters head.

Phaneuf wanted out of Calgary, and the flames have to make a push to get into theplayoffs some how so Burkie had the upper hand. Burkie is enough trouble as it is for the Kessel trade but leaf fans will let their GMs do basically anything and still keep their job.

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I am amazed at how they all managed to make a fairly even trade.

The long term loser is Calgary, I think, but that remains to be seen.

I think that the Leafs just got better, and are on course to screw themselves out of a good draft pick.

I bet that Anaheim will be happy to get Jason Blake.

I think that he is a lot more useful than he ever looked in Toronto, and a change of scenery is probably welcomed for him.

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..I think that the Leafs just got better, and are on course to screw themselves out of a good draft pick...

Thanks for the comments WiDeN. Maybe this is what you meant but Burke already "screwed" the Leafs out of a good draft pick before the season when he traded their 1st round pick to Boston in the Kessel deal. There's really little benefit to the Leafs finishing near the bottom of the standings, except for higher picks in the later rounds. Beyond that, the worse they are, the better for Boston. I'm sure this is driving Burkie crazy -- he thought his team would compete for a playoff spot and I'm sure he didn't think he was trading away the potential #1 overall pick to a division rival.

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