Several media outlets are reporting that the Toronto Maple Leafs have traded forward Kris Versteeg to the Philadelphia Flyers for a first- and third-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Burke traded for Versteeg this summer, sending prospects Chris Didomenico, Phillippe Paradis and Viktor Stalberg to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Vesrteeg was seen as a possible fit on Toronto’s first line, but failed to click with sniper Phil Kessel, causing him to fall to the second unit and then to Toronto’s third line.
By trading Versteeg, Toronto will save $3,083,333 in cap space next season, which will allow Burke to find a more suitable player to complement Kessel or sign a pucking moving defenseman should veteran Tomas Kaberle also find himself traded from the Blue and White.
For Philadelphia, the Flyers add some offensive depth, a Stanley Cup Champion and a player that can play all positions and plays the power play.
While small in stature, Versteeg is a spark plug on the ice. His experience and moxy should be well received by the Orange and Black, as will Versteeg’s sense of humor—which is legendary.
Currently sitting first overall, the Flyers give up a very late pick (possibly 30th overall) in this, an Entry Draft that many have called void of depth.
The third rounder amounts to a crap shoot for the Leafs, a pick that may see the Maple Leafs pick somewhere around 90th overall.
Clearly while Burke will proudly thump his chest about getting a first-round draft pick for the upcoming draft, this move is more about ridding themselves of a player who never really fit into the team and, in saving just over $3 million in salary, it allows Burke to turn his sights to this summer's free agent market, where he might just be able to land the likes of Brad Richards should he become available.
Burke said he wasn’t done; it will be interesting to see who’s next....
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