Let’s take a look at what the Maple Leafs acquired on the 2009 trade deadline.
4th RD pick
2nd RD pick
2nd RD pick
Conditional Draft Pick
Olaf Kolzig and Jaime Heward can be cut off this list. It’s clear that the only reason why Brian Burke acquired these two injured players is to do the Tampa Bay Lightning a favour.
Every general manager knew that the Maple Leafs had a lot of cap room to help out their organization.
Tampa Bay needed to unload some salary and in exchange the Leafs get a 6’5” physical defenseman (Andy Rogers) and a 4th round draft pick to add to their repertoire. Andy Rogers is also a former first round draft choice being drafted 30th overall in 2004.
Burke only had to give up Richard Petiot who unfortunately has had some bad injuries that might make him a career minor leaguer. In return, Brian Burke also obtained the respect of the Tampa Bay Lightning who might do the Leafs a favour in the future.
Maybe it will come in June (Tomas Kaberle or Vesa Toskala for Tampa’s 1st pick) or maybe it will come in the next few seasons but some day Burke will call upon the Lightning for an act of kindness.
Maybe that’s just wishful thinking but nevertheless something tells me that Burke has recently watched the Godfather trilogy.
The Maple Leafs also managed to get a 2nd round pick and a conditional draft choice for Nikolai Antropov from the New York Rangers.
A decent trade and an even better one if the Rangers and Antropov perform well enough for that conditional draft pick to yield the best possible position. The Leafs also acquired a 2nd round pick from the Buffalo Sabres for Dominic Moore who was signed off waivers just a year ago.
That was a great trade in my opinion and all the credit should go to Moore for improving his game enough to warrant a 2nd round pick.
Whether Moore continues to improve or make this trade look even better is not the point. He has not proved that he is worth what he was asking for from the Maple Leafs.
I’m tired of players looking to similar players to argue how much they are worth. Just because I score 50 goals and get 50 assists does not mean that I should be getting paid what Joe Sakic or Jarome Iginla are getting paid.
Let’s see if I can do that for more than one season before they start rolling out the red carpet for my services. Players today are spoiled and then they drop off the grid like a spy gone rogue.
This was one season and Moore does not deserve a long term deal for 2-3 million a year. He wasn’t out of line for asking for that kind of deal but he was for insisting. Great move for Burke.
The Leafs also used waivers to add to their team before the trade deadline. Martin Gerber was claimed from the Ottawa Senators and is a decent goaltender to carry the load for the rest of the season.
At the same time, they don’t have to commit too much money and if he plays well enough he could become an asset. It demonstrates that the Leafs will not give up and call it a season just because they lose their number one goaltender.
The Leafs still have a duty to give their clients the best product possible because sports is a business.
I think fans that want the Leafs to lose the remainder of their games, so that they have a chance to draft John Tavares, forget that sports are a business. Would you want a lousy automobile because Gus the mechanic wanted to go home early that day?
It’s tough to think about the Leafs with that perspective but that’s what you have to do to understand this signing.
Eric Reitz was also signed off of waivers from the Rangers. He’s a former Minnesota Wild player but he has only played a total of 37 games (31 this season) with the Wild.
This means that he hasn’t had enough exposure to Jacque Lemaire’s defensive system. The upside is that he’s still young, the kind of tough defenseman that the Leafs need on their team, and some exposure to Lemaire is better than none.
Jeff Hamilton was brought in for the remainder of this season because they need someone to fill in for Antropov and Moore who were both traded. Due to the fact that teams are only allowed 4 call ups after the trade deadline, this signing was important.
However, Jeff Hamilton is having a fantastic season in the AHL and he had a decent season with 39 points in 2006-2007 as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. But at 31 years of age I don’t think he will be a part of any future plans for the Maple Leafs.
They might let him stick around with the Toronto Marlies at best with the occasional call up. But they do believe that he’s a smart player and wierder things have happened with the Maple Leafs.
Overall this was a decent trade deadline for Brian Burke. He was able to get some draft picks to replace the ones that prior general managers traded away and deal with the remainder of this season. And I’m not surprised that he didn’t trade Alexei Ponikarovsky.
Despite many Leafs fans comparing him to Antropov, Ponikarovsky is a plus 2 which is one of the best on the team compared to Antropovs which was often in the minus double digits. This shows that Ponikarovsky has been respectively taking care of his defensive game.
However, I think that Burkes’ best work will happen at the draft and from July to September when he will deal with major issues like Pavel Kubina, Tomas Kaberle, and Jason Blake to name a few. And maybe that’s when he will use Ponikarovsky in a trade.