Entering last Saturday night's HNIC game against Montreal, Kris Versteeg and Tomas Kaberle were still members of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Seven days later, Brian Burke has turned those two players into three (possibly four) draft choices and a highly regarded prospect in Joe Colborne. Add in the trade of Francois Beauchemin, and the Leafs have dramatically changed their roster in less than ten days. We won't know the true importance of the recent transactions for some time, but you can't argue that Burke hasn't impressed with his ability to acquire high end young talent as of late. Considering the questionable nature of moves made earlier in his tenure, it's a positive and welcome sign.
As for Kaberle's exit, I don't think I could put it any better than mf37 did:
In the end, I am saddened by Kaberle’s departure. Like so many Leaf greats before him I fear he will not be judged by the lens of his accomplishments or how he performed on the ice, but by the shortcomings of his team during his tenure. It’s unfortunate that the failures of management, especially their inability to surround players like Kaberle with the appropriate pieces to win, will colour how many evaluate his career as a Leaf. I do hope time corrects that viewpoint as it has for Sittler, Salming and Sundin.
I wish him nothing but success in the future and look forward to his return to the ACC where I hope he will be acknowledged, if not for his wonderful contributions to the Toronto Maple Leafs, for waiving his No Trade Clause and ensuring that this club has yet more prospects and more hope for the future.
links after the jump...
Bruce Arthur of the Nat Post opines on the fallout from yesterday
The NY Times hockey blog has a quick recap of what went down
Mirtle examines why Burke declined to extend Kaberle's contract
Vintage Leaf Memories ponders if ample cap space and acquired assets signal a bigger move on the horizon
Vintage Leafs has quite the collection of Kaberle photos to commemorate his career
MLHS bids Tomas a grand farewell
MLHS has a quick Q&A with the Leafs' Head of Amateur Scouting
LeafsHQ offers their take
Hockey Analysis has a few notes of interest
Blue Chip Prospects attempts to predict what the Leafs will look like in October
Ryan Lambert of Puck Daddy writes that it's all part of the plan
Xterratu has some info on new Leaf Joe Colborne and a farewell speech for Kaberle over at LeafsHQ