Maple Leafs Trade Francois Beauchemin: What The Deal Means For Toronto

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Maple Leafs Trade Francois Beauchemin: What The Deal Means For Toronto
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Brian Burke is at it again. 

While this season for the Toronto Maple Leafs has had its fair share of trade rumours swirling, no one seemed to anticipate the trade that took place on Wednesday afternoon. 

The Leafs sent the highly-criticized defenseman Francois Beauchemin to the Anaheim Ducks in return for forward Joffrey Lupul, defenseman Jake Gardiner and a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2013. 

Beauchemin heads back to team he played for from 2005-2009 and won a Stanley Cup with in 2006-07. He never really made the impact many hoped he would in Toronto, recording just seven goals and 38 points in 136 games. 

By the end of it, he certainly wasn't a fan-favourite. 

The Leafs, meanwhile, get two former first-round picks in Lupul and Gardiner, who add even more youth to the club. Lupul, the 27 year old from Saskatchewan, Alberta, was the Ducks' seventh-overall pick in the 2002 Entry Draft.

His best season was in 2005-06, when he scored 28 goals and 53 points.  

The winger has bounced around the league during his career, but when healthy has proved that he can be a valuable member to the offense. Lately though, he's battled through injuries that only allowed him to play 23 games last season, and 26 thus far this season. 

He comes to the Leafs having scored five goals and 13 points this season. 

Gardiner, on the other hand, is a 20 year old defenseman who Burke himself drafted 17th-overall in 2008 while he was the GM of the Ducks. The 6'1", 173 pound blue liner has yet to play a game in the NHL and currently plays for the University of Wisconsin.

Gardiner has seven goals and 30 points in 30 games this year. 

So what does this deal mean for the Leafs moving forward?

Well, first of all, it adds another skilled forward up front. Early reports have him on a line with Tyler Bozak and Clarke MacArthur for his first game as a Leaf against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night in Toronto. 

He played with MacArthur in the WHL in 2002-03 as a member of the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Lupul's arrival will force someone out of the lineup right away, while a defenseman from the Marlies, likely Keith Aulie, will have to come up and fill Beauchemin's spot. 

As with most trades, it remains to be seen how it works out for both sides. Questions of Lupul's health will not subside, as he missed 24 games at the beginning of the season following back surgery. But if he's able to get back to the way he played-and scored-earlier in his career, then he could be a great addition. 

He will play in a top-six role, while also adding another body to the Leafs power play. 

The hope is that with a larger role on the Leafs, Lupul will be able to perform at a higher level than with his previous club, something that has worked for MacArthur, Grabovski this season.

This likely isn't the end of the moves for the Leafs before the Feb. 28th deadline, as they're expected to continue to improve the club both now and for the future.

 

Follow me on Twitter: @therealjonneely

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