FanPost

If we don't think of the future, who will? (Leafs Trade History, Brian Burke edition)

Editor's Note: Daoust has put together a great fanpost looking at the moves Burke's made to bring in young players and draft picks.

A couple of years ago I decided to compile a list of all Leaf trades going back to the Pat Quinn regime.   JFJ had just been fired, Grandpa Cliff was in charge (sort of), and people were worried the old guy was up to his old ‘Draft Shmaft’ ways again.  

I realized over the holidays that it’s been a while since I’ve updated the database, and definitely not since Brian Burke took over.   Given the trade winds blowing, not to mention the recent Fabian Brunstromm blockbuster, this seemed like as good a time as any to update the list and take a look at exactly what Burke’s been up to from a trade perspective since he got here - with, as is always the way with me, a particular interest in draft picks moved.    (Note I’ve only looked at Burke’s trade history in this post, if you’re interested in the full history, you can check it out here and here.)

So here’s the list of all trades made during Burke’s tenure, with a tally of draft picks moved in each transaction:

      PICKS  
Toronto traded Toronto Received Partner IN OUT
Conditional 2010 6th (not traded - May didn't re-sign) Brad May ANA 0 0
Nik Antropov 2009 2nd Round pick (Ryan) NYR 1 0
Dominic Moore 2009 2nd Round pick (from Carolina - Blacker) BUF 1 0
Richard Petiot Kolzig, Jamie Heward, Andy Rogers, 2009 4th (later taken away by that turd Bettman for no reason). TBAY 0 0
Pavel Kubina, Tim Stapleton Garnet Exelby, Colin Stuart ATL 0 0
Anton Stralman, Colin Stuart, 2012 7th round Wayne Primeau, 2011 2nd Round CGY 1 1
2011 3rd, 2011 2nd (from Cgy) 2010 2nd Rd (our own - previously traded to MTL for Grabovski;  MTL Traded it to Chicago for Robert Lang ) CHI 1 2
2010 1st (Seguin), 2010 2nd (Knight), 2011 1st Phil Fucking Kessel BOS 0 3
Jimmy Hayes 2010 2nd Round (Ross) CHI 1 0
Jiri Tlusty Phillipe Paradis CAR 0 0
Jamal Mayers, Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Ian White Dion Phaneuf, Keith Aulie, Frederic Sjostrom CGY 0 0
Jason Blake, Vesa Toskala JS Giguere ANH 0 0
2010 5th Round (Wagner) Mike Brown ANH 0 1
Joey MacDonald 2011 7th Round ANH 1 0
Lee Stempniak Matt Jones, 2010 4th Rd (Grubauer), 2010 7th Rd (Jones) PHX 2 0
Alexi Ponikarovsky,  Martin Skoula, Luca Caputi PIT 0 0
Martin Skoula 2010 5th Rd (Carrick) NJ 1 0
Chris Didomenico,  Viktor Stalberg, Phillipe Paradis Kris Versteeg, Rights to Bill Sweatt CHI 0 0
2010 6th Rd (Ragalski) Chris Peluso PIT 0 1
2012 3rd Rd 2010 3rd Rd (Olden) LA 1 1
2010 4th (Grubauer) 2010 4th (Granberg), 2010 5th (Brodin) WSH 2 1
2010 7th (Kellen Jones) 2011 6th EDM 1 1
Mikhail Stefanovich Fabian Brunstromm DAL 0 0
    TOTAL 13 11

 

This chart summarizes the draft pick movement, by round:

Rd In Out
1st   2
2nd 5 2
3rd 1 2
4th 2 1
5th 2 1
6th 1 1
7th 2 2
TOTAL 13 11

As you can see from the above charts, Burke has made 23 trades since taking over two years ago.   I have no interest in actually doing the research to back this up, but I'd be surprised if there were any GMs that were more active than Burke during this period.   The chart also indicates that Burke has brought in 13 draft picks via trade, and has moved out 11 (note:  picks that he traded for but then subsequently moved out are included in both numbers).   And while he’s down 2 first rounders as well as one 3rd in totality, he’s up three 2nd rounders, and up one 4th and 5th . (The tally would also have been 14, not 13 in, if Bettman’s Wheel of Justice hadn’t landed on ‘over-the-top retribution’ when dealing with the Jonas Frogren contract issue.)

Burke has been accused by some (ie almost everyone) of attempting an ‘acclerated rebuild’ – ie making moves with an aim to becoming competitive now as opposed to waiting patiently for draft picks to perhaps, maybe one day, become pros in a few years time.   Looking at the draft picks moved, it’s hard to see how people would come to that conclusion.   Sure, we’re down two first round picks, but we're up 2 picks in totality, and we’re also up one 22-year old 35-goal scorer with 3 years left on his contract.  There's no guarantee that Kessel will re-sign here, but there's also no reason to believe that Burke won't try to sign him to another 5-year deal once this one has expired.

In any event, we know that we’re up a couple of picks under Burke, but when are we going to feel the effects of this draft pick movement?

IN       OUT      
GM 2009 2010 2011 2012 2009 2010 2011 2012
Burke 2 8 3 0 0 6 3 2

So Burke was up 2 picks in 2009 (versus when he joined), up another 2 picks in 2010, square in 2011, and down 2 in 2012.    Given this distribution, I guess there is technically some validity to the claims that Burke is more interested with success now than 5 years from now.    But seeing as the 2012 picks were a 3rd and 7th rounder, it’s not overly concerning.   (And given he only has a 5-year contract, I’m not sure why anyone would be surprised that he’s trying to get results prior to his contract expiring?)  

In addition to the picks Burke has moved, I also wanted to take a look at the ‘prospects’ that have come and gone via Burke trades.     His draft pick movement doesn’t seem to indicate mortgaging the future for immediate success, what about his ‘prospect’ movement?

In

Age

Out

Age

Luca Caputi

21

Jiri Tlusty

21

Bill Sweatt (Rights)

21

Jimmy Hayes

21

Chris Peluso

22

Chris DiDomenico

21

Phillipe Paradis

19

Viktor Stalberg

24

Keith Aulie

20

Phillipe Paradis

19

Matt Jones

24

Mikhail Stephanovich

21

Fabian Brunstrom

25

 

 

Tyler Bozak

23

 

 

Christian Hanson

23

 

 

Jonas Gustavsson

25

 

 

Ben Scrivens

23

 

 

Marcel Mueller

22

 

 

Jussi Rynnas

23

 

 

The players in the upper half are ‘prospects’ (loosely defined as players 25 or younger) moved via trade, and you can see that it’s basically a wash in terms of prospects in vs out… the number moved is basically identical, and despite  Viktor Stalberg having a quick start this year in Chicago, there is no one on that list that is currently looking like they’re going to be a game-breaker.

Below the prospect list (shaded in gray) you’ll see the prospects signed by Burke via free agency.    There are six of them, average age 23 and a bit, and all of them have at least shown some promise of being able to contribute at the NHL or AHL level.    So on top of adding a 22-year old 35-goal scorer on a long-term contract, and bringing in more draft picks than he moved out, he’s added six prospects to the previously barren cupboard via free agency .  Technically, these moves are designed to improve the team now,  but given the ages of the players signed, it seems ridiculous to me to accuse Burke of not thinking of the future at the same time.    If even one or two of these players end up being a significant contributor to future Leafs teams, that’s almost as if Burke had his own private draft that no one else got to participate in.    If the Leafs were 3 or 4 spots higher in the standings I don’t think so many fans would be so oblivious to the progress he’s made.

The Kessel Trade

Despite the thoroughness of this site in discussing all things Leaf, the Kessel trade really hasn’t been evaluated in fulsome enough detail for my liking, so I’m going to add some additional commentary.

While it’s true the Leafs traded two firsts and a second to Boston for Kessel, and tracking of the trade (including my own) has begun including Jared Knight as one of the principals involved, that’s not entirely accurate.   

In order to have our own 2nd round pick to trade to Boston, we had to get it back from Chicago first.   Remember, this was the pick we traded to Montreal for Grabovski, which Montreal wisely traded to Chicago for Robert Lang’s exploding Achilles Tendon.    To get the pick back, we traded our own 2011 3rd as well as Calgary’s 2011 2nd .

I’m hesitant to give ammo to the ‘The Kessel trade set the Leafs back 5 years’ camp, but the reality is that that trade actually cost us two 1sts, a 2nd and a 3rd.   Four picks.  Had the trade never been made, the Leafs wouldn’t have had their own 2nd rounder in 2010 to pick Jared Knight…. Chicago would have.   And the Leafs would have been sitting on Calgary’s 2nd this year as well as their own 3rd. 

Whatever though… I still like the trade, and I love Phil Kessel.     If you don’t, you’re a bad person.

The Phaneuf Trade

I don’t think there are many people that would argue that Phaneuf is living up to his substantial contract (and perhaps just as importantly the captaincy given to him this offseason.)   That being said, ignoring hindsight evaluation, I’m not sure how anyone could justify NOT making that trade at the time.    Any player with a $6.5M cap hit represents a potential risk for sure, but every trade of substance is a risky one.    It’s not every day you have the opportunity to add a 25-yr old former Norris candidate that has scored more goals than every defenceman since the lockout, for a bunch of spare parts that you know would never be part of a truly competitive Maple Leaf team.    Passing on that opportunity, regardless of how it’s turned out so far, would have been a failure on Burke’s part. 

Lee Stempniak – F*ck him

Given how he was performing at the time – and how Steen and Colaiccovo were not - I was actually excited about the initial Stempniak trade with St Louis.  And even though he never lived up to his potential here, I still wouldn’t have been averse to signing him to $1M contract to play on the 3rd line.    Then he had to go and score 40 goals in 10 games after he was traded to Phoenix and make us all look like foolish assholes, so fuck him.

To many, the return we got for him seems light when you look at the initial transaction – Matt Jones,  a 2010 4th rounder, and a 2010 7th rounder.    However, if you look a little further, Burke turned around the 2010 4th rounder into another 2010 4th rounder plus a 2010  5th rounder.  AND he then turned the 2010 7th rounder into a 2011 6th rounder.    So we actually got Matt Jones, 2010 4th, 2010 5th, and 2011 6th for Stempniak.

Ok, that still sucks.  Fuck Lee Stempniak.   Then laugh at him for being on pace for 38 points this year, his lowest total since his rookie season.   (True story:  when I started writing this earlier this week that number was 34;  then that prick went and got a goal and 2 assists last night to bring it up to 38.   F*ck him.)

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Burke has certainly been a busy boy, perhaps in a few weeks time he'll have given me reason to update this again...

 

 

PensionPlanPuppets.com is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of PensionPlanPuppets.com.

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