Toronto Maple Leafs: Brian Burke Stays Quiet at the NHL Trade Deadline
Sometimes no news is good news.
Rumors had been swirling for weeks of the deals that may take place, but Burke has made it clear he was not about to jeopardize the future to make a run at the playoffs this season, and he kept his word on this day.
His only move was on the minor-league level, sending John Mitchell to the New York Rangers for a 2012 seventh-round pick. Mitchell was playing with the Marlies, but had appeared in 23 games with the Leafs this season, recording two goals and three points in that time.
A good deal for the Leafs, especially because Mitchell was on waivers just two weeks ago.
And you just never know with a seventh-round pick. Carl Gunnarsson was picked in that very round in 2007. Tomas Kaberle was picked in the eighth-round in 1996, and became the second-highest scoring Leafs defenseman in history. A long shot, of course, but better than nothing.
Other than that, though, all was quiet in Leaf land as Burke stuck to the plan of making this team a legitimate contender of the future, and not simply one that would sneak into the postseason this year and go nowhere.
There was talk of Clarke MacArthur moving out if the club couldn't agree on the terms of a new contract, but the team's leading scorer stayed put.
Rumours included goaltender J.S. Giguere possibly leaving for a new home as well, but he too will wear a Leafs jersey for the remainder of the season before becoming a free agent in the summer as well.
The Leafs certainly weren't quiet in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline though, as the shipped out three key veterans from their roster to improve their future outlook.
Francois Beauchemin was the first to move, as on Feb. 9 the Leafs sent him back to the Anaheim Ducks in return for Joffrey Lupul, Jake Gardiner, and a conditional fourth-round pick.
Kris Versteeg was next out the door, heading to Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 14. The Leafs received a first and third-round pick in 2011 for the feisty forward, who had only joined the club in the offseason.
And of course, one of the most talked about players for the past two seasons in Tomas Kaberle was mercifully traded to the Boston Bruins on Feb. 19. Coming back to the Leafs was 6'5" prospect Joe Colborne, the Bruins' 2011 first-round pick, and a second-round pick.
An eventful month, yes, it just meant that come the actual deadline, there was nothing left to do for the Leafs GM.
And that's a good thing.
The tie was loose, the phones were active, and the mind was at work, but the man who is so often loud was the exact opposite on this day.
The temptation to add a roster player to help the Leafs current playoff push must have been there. With 20 games remaining and the club just four points out, there is no doubt that Burke would love for this team to slip in and have a few playoff games in Toronto for the first time in seven years.
But it's not worth risking the future to do so. Burke knows that, and he stayed the course despite offers undoubtedly filtering in.
It made for a nothing-day as far as Leafs news goes, but lack of excitement on this day is a positive if you're a fan.
It ensures the chances are better for playoff excitement in the years to come.
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