Today GM Cliff Fletcher pulled the trigger on a deal that sent Alex Steen and Carlo Coliacovo to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for forward Lee Stempniak.
In a way, this is a strange deal. With an announcement coming at anytime now about Brian Burke, it is strange that the Leafs would make a swap like this. You would think they would wait for Burke to come in and decide to make the trade.
That aside, this is a decent trade for the Blue and White. They give up a struggling center and a defenseman with loads of potential but injury problems. Carlo just couldn't stay healthy and that was his demise. I think that Carlo could be a great defenseman in this league but it seems it's just not in the cards.
On the other end of the deal the Leafs get a skilled winger who gives the Leafs a much needed second right hand shot at the forward position. Lee broke out two years ago with 27 goals and 52 points, but only put up 13 goals and 38 points last season.
Lee seems to have come back to his old self, notching 13 points in 14 games and 11 in his last 7 games this season. In St. Louis, Stempniak has been on pace for 72 points and 16 goals. These numbers could sway any which way with the Leafs.
The place for Lee Stempniak on the Leafs roster in my opinion, is on a line with Niklas Hagman and and rookie phenom Mikhail Grabovski. Lee has good speed and gives them the advantage of having a right hand shot to dish the puck to.
Some people might say "why take Nik Kulemin off the line?" Kulemin is a good rookie but he is not the reason for the line's success. I think moving Nik on to a line with assistant Dominic Moore and Jason Blake will be a smart move and won't knock Kulemin off stride this season.
So another stepping stone to a bright future is in place, and I'll have to rate this a B+ on the newly created "Porter's Trade Report Card."