Oh my goodness did it finally happen?
Did Brian Burke finally make that big trade, that blockbuster move that defines the Maple Leafs for the next 5-10 years?
Wait.....this all sounds so familiar... (Phil Kessel trade)
But I digress, these are the blockbuster deals that Leafs fans have been waiting and pleading for all season.
Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom, and Keith Aulie for Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Ian White and Jamal Mayers.
Jean-Sabestien Giguere for Vesa Toskala and Jason Blake.
Now these are quite the trades for Toronto considering that four of the six players leaving Toronto are forwards, but the Leafs do get tougher and they do get a lot younger, now being one of the youngest teams in the league.
But the best part of this trade is that Brian Burke addressed some key issues with the Maple Leafs that have been plaguing the team all season.
Goaltending, the penalty kill, and a big, hard-hitting defenseman.
Lets start with Phaneuf.
Although he has been slumping and in the doghouse this season, Phaneuf is one of the most exciting defenseman in the game. He has a massive shot from the point, and brings a physical presence to the blueline, something that Mike Komisarek was supposed to bring and something that Luke Schenn was supposed to learn.
Giguere is a former Conn Smythe winner with a Stanley Cup ring to go with it. Although he has been struggling this season, he still has played much better than the other two goalies Toronto had on there roster. He will be reuniting with former goaltending coach Francois Allaire whom he had his best success with, so expect good things coming from the goaltender.
The under-estimated part of this deal is Sjostrom. He is a penalty-killing winger that is one of the fastest skaters in the NHL. He will instantly make the Maple Leafs penalty kill better with his presence.
Finally there is the wild card out of all these deals, Aulie. He is a former World Juniors gold medal winner who is a monster in the back end at 6-foot-6. He hits hard and is not scared to drop the gloves if he has too.
Overall the Leafs did a good job at addressing there major needs. But the one issue that needs to be addressed more so now then ever is there sputtering offense.
In total, 57 of the Leafs 148 goals scored this season so was traded in the span of three hours.
But luckily, Brian Burke did state in a Leafs press conference that he is not finished making trades and that until the next deal is done, those positions will be filled with scratched players and rookies looking to make a mark.
Most likely those rookies will be Viktor Stalberg and Christian Hanson from the AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies.
So even though the Leafs did lose a fan favourite in White and two of the Maple Leafs leading scorers in Stajan and Hagman, the Leafs got help in three areas of their game that have been severely lacking.
Let's hope in the next couple weeks, these players can gel well with the players that they already have.
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