The run up to the 2011 NHL Trade Deadline has been a crazy mixture of runaway speculation and quick denials and big moves. The Maple Leafs have been a catalyst of the moves starting with the Francois Beauchemin trade that saw the Leafs pick up Joffrey Lupul, prospect Jake Gardiner, and a conditional pick. Burke followed that up by shipping Kris Versteeg to Philadelphia for a first and a third round pick. That one was a slightly more contentious move. Finally, over a week ago, Brian Burke had his price for Tomas Kaberle met as the Bruins paid Joe Colborne, a first round pick, and a conditional second round pick. It was, for a fanbase that had been waiting two years for this trade, harder than expected.
Brian Burke has already done so much in the lead up to today's deadline. He has been vocal in a number of respects. Last night he noted that he would entertain offers for Clarke MacArthur, he has been linked to John-Michael Liles, Peter Stastny, Brad Richards, and basically any player available. That's what happens when you say that you have assets in your shopping cart. But the most important thing that Brian Burke has said is in regard to his ultimate plan:
The game plan and the blueprint has never changed.
- Brian Burke
Junior wrote a hell of a piece that you all should read that looks at how the recent moves fit into the overarching plan that Brian Burke has implemented: Get younger players with more potential, bring in vets to mentor them, accumulate assets, evaluate them, and repeat as necessary to build (hopefully) a championship contender. Whether Burke ultimately uses any of the draft picks that he has compiled will largely depend on how the day plays out. He's said that he wants to bring in players to help a group that has worked so hard to put itself into the playoff race but he won't do it at the expense of the future. However, if he wants to do something to address the team's need for another top centre to complement Mikhail Grabovski: trade for Stephen Weiss
The Florida Panthers, a cautionary tale to every fan that thinks that simply losing and accumulating draft picks are the key to success, is headed to yet another year out of the playoffs as Dale Tallon looks to move out anything that's not nailed down. His efforts so far have been pretty spotty but it his assets under contract that could be most helpful in moving the club's plans forward. Where have we heard that before?
What will the Panthers get back: Weiss is signed for two more seasons and is a big part of the team. Unlike players with expiring contracts, the Panthers will not want more than draft picks back in any trade. Any deal that happens will look more like the recent deal that sent Michael Frolik to Chicago or the off-season deals that saw Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell traded to the Bruins and Keith Ballard traded to the Canucks than the recent deal the Senators made that sent Mike Fisher to the Nashville Predators.
SBN's Panthers blog has looked at all the team's assets as they enter their second decade of rebuilding. One that has caught the eye of others is Stephen Weiss. Obviously, it's hard to discern facts from speculation as even trusted sources can be in conflict. Weiss himself seems opposed to a deal and ultimately that probably means that no deal will be forthcoming especially as Tallon seems to think that good times are just around the corner. However, the latest rumours have Toronto as being the only destination he will consider.