When I heard that the Toronto Maple Leafs traded Kris Versteeg to the Philadelphia Flyers for first- and third-round picks in this year's draft, I had mixed feelings.
Sure, we were able to acquire a first-round pick, but Versteeg could have been quite a good player for us down the road. Only 24-years-old, Versteeg has already won a Stanley Cup, and in 224 NHL games, has tallied 58 goals and 78 assists for 136 points.
When the Leafs acquired Versteeg from the Chicago Blackhawks, many of us thought that he would be a good second-liner. While he has been playing on the third line most of the time, Versteeg is on pace to surpass his point totals from last year. He should have no problem now that he is on the offensively loaded Flyers team.
The Leafs were able to reacquire a first-round pick, which should quiet some fans still complaining about the Phil Kessel trade. While this pick is most likely going to be late in the first round, this year's draft is rather dry after the top 10, so it won't really matter that much.
If you look at what we traded for Versteeg, you could say that we traded Viktor Stalberg, Chris DiDomenico and Phillipe Paradis in return for first and third-round picks. Looks like a pretty good trade to me.
With the Leafs trading away both Versteeg and Francios Beauchemin within the past week, it will be even harder to fight their way into the playoffs, but with this trade, there comes a new motivation for the Leafs.
If the Flyers remain first in the Eastern Conference, and the Leafs somehow make their way into the eighth playoff spot, then the Leafs could be in control of where the first-round pick ends up. If they were to somehow, miraculously, beat the Flyers in the playoffs, then the pick would be between 15th and 26th. Otherwise, we'd better cheer for whomever is in eighth place. Just don't let it be the Canadiens.