It was not too long ago that Kris Versteeg hoisted the Stanley Cup last season as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. He will now be joining the team that he beat in those very Finals, the Philadelphia Flyers.
Brian Burke, as promised, continued to look towards the future on Monday afternoon, trading the 24-year-old to the Flyers in return for their first- and third-round picks in the upcoming Entry Draft.
Versteeg had 14 goals and 35 points through 53 games, and now joins the Eastern Conference's best team. He should add some extra scoring punch to an already talented offensive core and help them get back to the Finals this season.
With a different result, they hope.
The deal was made just days after the Leafs acquired Joffrey Lupul, Jake Gardiner and a fourth-round pick from the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman Francois Beauchemin.
Versteeg likely became expendable once Lupul joined the picture, as their style of play is very similar, and the Leafs were getting crowded on the wings.
But most importantly for the Leafs, this deal now means they have a first-round pick to look forward to. Though the Flyers are on pace to finish in the top three in the NHL this season, having a late first-round pick is a step in the right direction.
It's no secret as to where the Leafs' pick was traded two seasons ago, when the deal was made that sent Phil Kessel to Toronto, in exchange for two first-round picks and a second.
This move won't be the last the Leafs are involved in this season, as there are still two weeks until the Feb. 28 trade deadline. Burke is likely to continue building towards the future, and there are still pieces on the current club that could be worth something in return.
Speaking of the future, the not-too-distant future looks a little better for the Leafs.
While Versteeg worries about lifting the Cup for a second straight year this summer, Burke and co. now have a reason to worry about who they choose in the first round.
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