Brian Burke: 5 Best Trades with the Toronto Maple Leafs
Over the last few years, Leafs fans have watched their team grow under the watchful of eye of general manager Brian Burke.
During this time Burke has changed the identity of this team to fit with his motto of "Truculence, belligerence" and a bunch of other tough sounding words that are difficult to spell or pronounce.
With many astute signings and highway robberies he passed off as trades, Burke has this team on the path to the playoffs.
The 2012 NHL Trade Deadline is approaching, so as we prepare for Burke's next blockbuster, let's take a look back at some of his best ones.
5. Thomas Kaberle for Joe Colborne and 1st and 2nd Round Pick
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Some people will argue that this should be No. 1.
To get revenge on the Boston Bruins for taking two top draft picks for Phil Kessel, Burke took complete advantage of them the following time.
On January 12th, 2011, the Boston Bruins traded a top prospect in Joe Colborne and a first and second-round pick to acquire Thomas Kaberle for their subsequent playoff run.
We all know how poorly Kaberle played in the playoffs, which the Bruins overcame to win the Stanley Cup, but let me put it in perspective.
When the Boston Bruins were looking to move Kaberle's negotiating rights prior to free agency last year, no one wanted him.
But somehow and someway the B's thought it would be wise to give two high round draft picks and a top prospect for two months of abysmal Kaberle play.
4. Brett Lebda and Robert Slaney for Cody Franson and Matthew Lombardi
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I'll try to keep this one nice and brief.
During the past offseason Burke traded underachieving defenseman Brett Lebda and minor leaguer Robert Slaney for promising defenseman Cody Franson and injury-prone forward Matthew Lombardi, who was considered a salary dump.
3. The 7 Player Trade
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At the end of January two years ago, Burke traded four contributing players in Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Ian White and Jamal Mayers for stud defenseman Dion Phaneuf, prospect Keith Aulie and grinder Fredrik Sjostrom.
While the Leafs have an All-Star defensemen and current captain in Phaneuf and top prospect in Aulie.
It probably would have been better for the Flames to just give Phaneuf away for free.
2. Francois Beauchemin for Jake Gardiner, Joffrey Lupul and 4th Round Pick
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You would think that after the Phaneuf trade that other general managers would stop letting Burke coerce them into trading away future All-Stars for underachieving defenseman.
Obviously, the Anaheim Ducks didn't get the memo.
By using some unknown method Burke was able to convince Anaheim general manager Bob Murray that trading away a top ranked prospect and three-time 20 goal scorer for a subpar defenseman who hadn't scored 30-plus points in a season since 2006.
This may be the reason why Bob Murray has been reluctant to deal another superstar player to Burke.
1. 2 1st Round Picks and 2nd Round Pick for Phil Kessel
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Burke has made no other trade greater than the Phil Kessel trade.
Yes, Tyler Seguin is an All-Star and will be for the rest of his career. It is also likely that Dougie Hamilton and Jared Knight will also become productive players for Boston.
But the fact remains, that Phil Kessel is a franchise player and the Leafs' best player and this trade brought him to Toronto.
Without this trade it would be hard to imagine the Leafs being anywhere near as competitive as they are today.
If the Leafs had played any better that season we would have been talking about Phil Kessel for Dougie Hamilton, Jared Knight and potentially Erik Gudbranson. That is a trade Leafs fans would take any day.
Regardless, the best player in the entire Leafs organization is here because of this trade.
If you look at the past three trades on this list, the Leafs have traded away one All-Star and received three.
With the trade deadline approaching don't be shocked to see another All-Star coming to the Leafs, but don't be surprised about how little Burke gave up.