Bryan McCabe Deal: Digging Deeper

Derek HarmsworthSenior Writer ISeptember 2, 2008

One of the two remaining Toronto Maple Leafs' sagas ended around lunchtime when Bryan McCabe was finally traded to the Florida Panthers.

McCabe was sent to South Florida along with a fourth round choice in exchange for local boy Mike Van Ryn.

We're still waiting on Mats, but as many of you heard today, that scenario looks weeks away, if not more, from coming to a head.

As we comb through the various websites today looking for some confirmation on a deal that has been rumoured for the past few weeks, I also got the chance to read over some of the fine articles and comments right here on Bleacher Report as well as on some other sites.

Now, while I enjoy the banter among fans, I was taken aback by the most of Leafs Nation today.

As the deal was about set to be made official, a large group of Leafs Nation was frantically wondering what Fletcher would bring to Toronto in exchange for McCabe.

And the answer is, with all due respect to Van Ryn, who cares?

Now let me say again that this isn't meant to disrespect Van Ryn.  He is a very serviceable defenseman, and despite missing a lot of time over the last two years, Van Ryn is steady and should challenge for a spot on the squad anywhere from three to six.

But the bottom line is Cliff Fletcher has done something that most everyone in the NHL said was impossible.

Even as the rumours came through and it was all but official, people were still saying it wouldn't go down. His contract was too large.  His numbers weren't good enough. 

Yet, here we are, Sept. 2, about 13 days before training camp is set to open, and the Maple Leafs are sans McCabe for the first time in seven years.

Just like he said he would, Fletcher has gotten his way. He has succeeded where his predecessor failed.

When he began to play hardball with McCabe earlier this summer, many people expected it to end ugly. That wasn't the case.

Fletcher went to McCabe and agreed on a deal that would send McCabe out of Toronto. There weren't any ugly incidents.  There wasn't any drama.  It was simply a GM doing business, and a player taking care of his best interests as well.

A GM whom many people make fun of on a daily basis for being too old and too senile has rid the team of most of its dead weight.  And he did it in a mostly proper fashion.

The season may be long.  The Leafs may not win a lot of games this year.  But one thing is for sure—tasks that seemed impossible last April have been completed.

No Darcy Tucker.  No Mats Sundin.  No Kyle Wellwood.  No Bryan McCabe.

It may not be a successful year, but it will be different for sure.