Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Deadline Day Recap

The trade deadline has come and gone and once again Toronto Maple Leafs fans are left wishing for more. Brian Burke was able to bring in some extra draft picks as well as a forward prospect while moving out a couple of players that had no future with the team. Burke was once again hampered by his refusal to ask Tomas Kaberle to waive his no trade clause and the fact that the teams that Kaberle were interested in couldn't make a deal work. Greg Wyshynski is handing out report cards and the Leafs get a passing grade...barely: 

Toronto Maple Leafs: They get a solid prospect in Luca Caputi from the Penguins, turn a salary dump in Martin Skoulainto a fifth-round pick from the Devils, get a three more picks in the Lee Stempniak and Joey MacDonald trades to Phoenix and Anaheim, and a prospect from Pittsburgh in Chris Peluso. Nothing major, because Brian Burke will tell you he hates deadline day. Only he'll most likely say it more colo[u]rfully. GRADE: C+

I tend to agree. The full impact of the deals will not be felt until many years in the future if at all. In the short term it is hard to argue that the Leafs will be anything but worse on paper after today. This is what is going out of the door:

2009 - Alexei Ponikarovsky 61 19 22 41 5 44 4 0 1 0 147 12.9
2009 - Lee Stempniak 62 14 16 30 -10 18 5 1 1 0 164 8.5

The Leafs have essentially shipped out 20% of their offence just like they gave up a tonne last year at the deadline. They managed to actually score more goals per game than they did before the deadline so it is certainly not written in stone that they will be worse. The likes of Viktor Stalberg, Christian Hanson, Tyler Bozak, and now Luca Caputi will be expected to carry much more of the offensive load. The bright side is that Burke will get at least a better sense of what the kids can do before the summer when Christian Hanson will have to be re-signed as well as when Burke will have to make decisions about what holes need to be filled.

After the jump, a full recap of the Leafs' moves including the ones made prior to the Olympic trade deadline but here it is in handy table form:

In Out
Dion Phaneuf Alex Ponikarovsky
Fredrik Sjostrom Lee Stempniak
Keith Aulie Joey MacDonald
Jean-Sebastien Giguere Martin Skoula
Luca Caputi Ian White
Matt Jones Niklas Hagman
Chris Peluso Matt Stajan
2010 4th Round Pick Jamal Mayers
2010 5th Round Pick Jason Blake
2010 7th Round Pick Vesa Toskala
2011 7th Round Pick 2010 6th Round Pick

Alex Ponikarovsky to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Martin Skoula and Luca Caputi

I posted a longer recap in the wee hours of the morning about the Ponikarovsky trade but it boils down to getting a forward prospect that the Leafs coveted that is a bit farther along the development cycle. Brian Burke noted that Ponikarovsky, much like Antropov and Dominic Moore before him, wanted longer term than the Leafs were prepared to offer. Burke noted that he was gambling on being able to get the contract that he is seeking. On the other hand, Dominic Moore did not.

Luca Caputi is a hometown boy that grew up with a painting of Doug Gilmour over his bed. At the very least, he can be a hometown favourite for at least one game.

Martin Skoula to the New Jersey Devils for a 2010 5th Round Pick

This trade was essentially the second part of the Ponikarovsky deal. Skoula will be reunited with his old coach Jacques Lemaire from Minnesota. It adds another pick to the 2010 draft's second day when the Leafs will actually have picks. There is always hope for a home run but it will be incumbent on the Maple Leafs' player development to get some shinier pieces of coal let alone any diamonds.

Lee Stempniak to the Phoenix Coyotes for Matt Jones, a 2010 4th Round Pick, and a 2010 7th Round Pick

Both picks are in 2010 which, after the Peluso trade, will give the Leafs six picks in the 2010 draft mostly in the later rounds. Travis Hair of SBN's Five For Howling likes the deal for the forward depth that it gives the Coyotes. I have no idea why the Leafs picked up Matt Jones. He has not even played this year because of post-concussion syndrome.

Joey MacDonald to Anaheim Ducks for a 2011 7th Round Pick

This deal is actually kind of funny because Joey Joe Joe Shabadoo won't be leaving Toronto because Anaheim has no AHL team. This move made sense for the Ducks because they got rid of Vesa Toskala and Justin Pogge in other hilarious deals and apparently they cannot be without a minor-league goalie from the Leafs.

2010 6th Round Pick to Pittsburgh Penguins for Chris Peluso

This deal came after the deadline and was a shocker. Chris Peluso is not much of a player from what I can tell but luckily SBN has a college hockey blog, Western College Hockey Blog, run by Chris Dilks who was kind enough to pass along some information about the latest player in the Leafs development pipeline:

That trade kind of surprises me because I'm not sure what the benefit is for Toronto--is there a limit on how many draft picks you can have or something?. In any case, I wouldn't have real high hopes for Peluso contributing with the Leafs. Peluso is a second or third pairing defensive defenseman at the college level that you don't really notice much when he plays. Being a guy that doesn't really stand out isn't a terrible thing when you play a defensive style, but I don't know that he has the upside to ever make the NHL. He's a tough kid, but he's only 5-10, and there's a lot of 6-2 and 6-3 tough guys out there too. He'd maybe be an asset to one of their minor league teams. He's a senior this year, so I think Toronto would have to sign him by August or he'd become a free agent.

I'll also throw in that I don't think he would have been drafted by anyone other than the Penguins. Chuck Grillo is the Penguins amateur scout in Minnesota, and he's a guy that carries a good deal of clout since he's been involved in scouting and player personnel for many, many years. Anyway, Grillo runs a pretty famous hockey camp in Brainerd, Minnesota, which is in the middle of the state, in an area that doesn't produce a ton of hockey players, and he tends to be pretty high on the few draft prospects that do come out of Central Minnesota.

But maybe the Leafs are seeing something that I'm not. I've only seen him a handful of times, and wasn't watching him super-close or anything so I don't have as strong a read. I'll usually defer to Brian Burke's opinion over mine.

Not much hope there although I guess the Toronto Marlies need defencemen too.

So all in all this deadline day mirrored Burke's last year: hampered by no trade clauses and moving anything he could. Wayne Primeau and Garnet Exelby were rumoured to be on the block but there wasn't much demand for fourth liners and 8th defencemen. The bright side is that this clears the decks for more kids to get ice-time while adding more lottery tickets. The pressure will be on the player development staff to help make these count. Of course, if you look at the pre-Olympic trade deadline as part of today it paints a much brighter picture:

Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala to Anaheim for Jean-Sebastien Giguere

The full Giguere traderecap is here but it boils down to getting a bad influence out of the dressing room in Vesa Toskala's laziness as well as a player that was chewing up valuable development minutes in Jason Blake. In return the Maple Leafs get another shot at getting NHL calibre goaltending as well as $4M in cap relief after July 1, 2011.

Matt Stajan, Jamal Mayers, Ian White, and Niklas Hagman to the Calgary Flamesfor Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom, and Keith Aulie

The Phaneuf dealwas the kind of blockbuster that would have rocked the NHL today let alone when it was made. The prevailing sentiment really has to be that the Leafs would never in a million years have been able to make that deal if not for the perfect storm of Darryl Sutter's nascent insanity and a down year for a defenceman that carries an incredibly impressive pedigree. Burke also managed to add a defensive prospect as well as a cheap fourth liner in exchange for a forward that wanted out, two free agents that were going to be far too expensive to re-sign, and an forward signed to a pretty good deal.

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