"Why yes, I was dropped as a baby down five flights of stairs, why do you ask?"
As we are in the middle of July with no notable Leafs news on the horizon (did you hear?! Burke might be interested in Jonathan Bernier!), I wandered to wikipedia and found the season-by-season summary of the Toronto Maple Leafs. As one thing led to another, I started to read up on all of the trades made by the Leafs since the lockout, and boy, was it ever depressing. But after getting over the initial gag reflex, I thought to myself, "wouldn't this be a great thing to just to share with PPP for my first ever Fan Post?". So here I am, writing my first series of Fan Posts on the post-lockout Leafs trades starting from 2005. While this is happening I'll try to give you my best attempt to gauge on how it worked out for us (usually ranging from "No" to "Oh God! Burn it! Send it to Hell!"). Do you really need another post on how absurdly bad our post lockout period has been? Probably not, but hey, at least it's better than talking about how we should not be trading for Rick Nash right? Right? ... Right?
Before I forget, I want to make sure to give credit to where credit is due, in that I got this idea from Be26's series on the recent drafts of the Maple Leafs. Hopefully this will be similarly entertaining (or depressing, depending on your emotional state, best put away all your sharp objects before reading just in case). Also I picked 2005-2006 season as the starting point since it was the first season since the lockout (where according to wikipedia, we didn't make any trades) and it was also the first time that we didn't make the playoffs since 1999. So without further ado, let's take a look at the great trades that we made! <Loads gun>
Trade 1 - July 30th, 2005
Our first trade since the lockout saw us acquiring a classic power forward and established veteran for draft pick (something you will notice that happened quite a number of times). In comes a forward that would in theory replace the void left by Gary Roberts/ Alex Mogilny and play with our captain Mats Sundin. We acquired...
To Toronto Maple Leafs: Jeff O'Neill
To Carolina Hurricanes: 2006 NHL Entry Draft - (Conditional) 4th Round (Reto Berra - G)
Verdict - Win
Jeff O'Neill was a key member in the late 90's-early 2000's Hurricanes team. He scored over 30 goals 3 times between 2000-2003, and I always remembered him scoring against the Leafs (despite them being pretty terrible during those years, with the exception of their cup final year in 2001). But as a sign of things to come, he scored only 14 goals in 2004 while suffering some injuries. I remember hearing the trade coming down and feeling pretty good, I mean, this is one of those low risk, high reward type of trades right?
O'Neill would score 19 goals in his first season here, which, while good for a second/third liner, was not the production we were expecting from playing with Sundin. He would score 20 goals in 2006-2007, but that was his last ever season in the NHL. He tried to make a comeback in 2009 with the Hurricanes, however could not make the team in training camp and retired shortly after.
If reading Jeff O'Neill's contribution to the Leafs seems to be somewhat fleeting, it turns out Carolina had nothing to show for the conditional 4th round pick, and it was picked up by the Blues as a part of the next trade Leafs made. The pick became Reto Berra, a Swiss goaltender who never played in North America and is currently playing for EHC Biel in the Swiss National League A. Getting 39 goals in two seasons for a 4th round pick that never panned out has to be counted as a win, no matter how you look at it.
Interesting Fact -
Somehow the Leafs ended up with 3 4th round picks in the 2006 Entry draft with Reto Berra the one that was traded away. The other two? James Reimer and Korbinian Holzer. Damn, we didn't end up too shabby on that round (but oh boy do we ever pay for it in all the early rounds).
Trade 2 - August 24th, 2005
To Toronto Maple Leafs: John Pohl
To St. Louis Blues: Future Considerations (4th round pick in 2006 NHL Entry Draft - Reto Berra - G)
Verdict - Win
Somehow the draft pick that was sent to the Canes was not picked up, and less than a month later, that draft pick was sent to St. Louis Blues ("Draft picks for sale! Come get your draft picks now!") in exchange for center John Pohl. At first seen as mostly a Marlies addition, John Pohl was able to get into 7 games during the season and scored 3 goals during that time, earning a spot on the team for next season where he score 13 goals and had 16 assists in 74 games. His offense dried up in 2007-2008 though, where he only had a goal and 3 assists in 33 games. He was released and played two seasons in Europe before returning to North America in 2009-2010 for the Chicago Wolves in the AHL. For a pick that we already gave up once, we got a player who suited up for us for over 100 games. A lateral move? Perhaps, but I'm going to call that a win again. Holy crap! We are 2 for 2! Amazing!
Interesting Fact -
I guess this is not really an interesting fact, but for a player who played over 100 games for the Leafs in the mid-2000s, how do I not have a single memory of him?! This is really bothering me. Was I in a coma? Did my brain automatically filtered him out since he was just god-awful? A John "Fucking" Mitchell before the real JFM? Who were his line mates? Let me just quickly google image this and see what I find.
Is... is that... Mats Sundin?! John Pohl played on the same line even once with Mats?! Oh God I'm so sorry you had to get through all of that Mats! Please forgive us! Also I'm going to get drunk now and hopefully my brain cells will forget about this.
Trade 3 - November 6th, 2005
To Toronto Maple Leafs: 2006 NHL Entry Draft - 6th Round (Leo Komarov - C)
Nickname you don't want to hear - The Finnish Rickard Wallin
To Dallas Stars: Nathan Perrott - who cares what his position is, he punched people
Look at that perfect hit, elbow at the head, stick no where in sight, wait...
Verdict - Win
I would've been happy to give up Nathan Perrott for a two-time used condom. The fact that he netted us a sixth round pick that we were able to turn into Leo Komarov is that extra gravy on the already pretty fattened turkey. Seriously, Nathan Perrott was terrible at hockey, just God awful. Not to mention he was also a terrible scrapper too, I remember vaguely that he wouldn't fight certain players, and Domi had to step up and just got absolutely destroyed. Sigh, what a mistake of a player. He makes George Parros look like Crosby. A no-brainer win.
Interesting Fact -
In the 3 games he played before he was traded to the Stars in 2005, he was a -5. Remember he doesn't play many minutes, and the minutes he did play is supposed to be spent on running his face into people's fists, and that just makes that number even more mind boggling. This is Lebda-esque level of fail.
Trade 4 - March 8th, 2006 (Trade Deadline)
To Toronto Maple Leafs: Aleksander Suglobov (RW)
Enigmatic, I mean, just look into his eyes, I dare you.
Any Sens player getting checked from behind will get my support
Verdict - Lose
Ken Klee was a free agent we signed from Washington from 2003. I always remembered him as a nice dependable 2nd pairing guy, someone I kind of took for granted. He would play on the second unit PP, killed penalty, ate up minutes, and did his job in a quiet way. He even chipped in with the odd goal here and there, with a career high of 5 goals and 29 points in 2003-2004. But in 2006, we had just finished a stretch of games where we had 3 wins in 17 games (!!!) which basically sank our playoffs aspirations. Klee was someone we could trade away and get someone back that will hopefully be a part of our future since we didn't need him as much as other cup contenders did. He was then moved to New Jersey for Aleksander Sugbolov.
Sugbolov was ranked as one of the better Devils prospect at the time, a nice skilled Russian winger. He was scoring at almost a point per game pace for the Devils AHL affiliate. "Cool! We decided to get younger and more skill for a veteran that didn't fit our plans", as some Leafs fans would say. Well, if you have been a Leafs fan for a while, you would've noticed how often we turn potentially good things into terrible things. So Sugbolov spent the rest of the season with the Marlies, notching up a nice 8 goals in 15 games. But somehow Sugbolov fell off a cliff with his production the next season, with only 3 goals and 13 points in 32 games in the AHL. That was the last season Sugbolov played in North America, he went home to Russia and has been a productive player for CSKA Moscow in the RSL and the KHL.
As much I would like to commend the philosophy in what should have been a rebuilding year, the result was just not up to par, so we finally have our first loss of the trade season.
Interesting Fact -
Sugbolov also had 17 games with the Leafs in 2 seasons. What was his production? 0 goals, 0 assists, for a total of, let's see here, 0 points. Man, for someone who was seen as a good prospect for so long, he really shit the bed in the limited time he had with the show.
Trade 5 - March 8th, 2006 (Trade Deadline)
To Toronto Maple Leafs: Luke Richardson (D)
Coming to CBC this fall, Caveman on Skates!
To Columbus Blue Jackets: 2006 NHL Draft - 5th Round (Nick Sucharski - LW)
In case you are wondering, Nick Sucharski is the one in front, not that it matters anyways
Verdict - Loss
Where to begin for this? Well, in terms of overall impact, this trade didn't really have any impact for either teams. Luke Richardson was drafted 7th overall in the 1987 entry draft as a teenager and made it out of the team right away. A big and bruising defenceman, Luke was seen as a cornerstone for the franchise and a shutdown defenseman for the Leafs for years to come. However it never worked out that way and he was sent out of town after 4 years for the Leafs. Wait, was I talking about Luke Richardson or Luke Schenn?! Huh. Sorry, got confused there for a second. Anyways coming back here, Richardson was traded back to the Leafs in 2006 because... uh... seriously I have no idea why. He played 22 games here and left to play for the Lightnings the next season. After two more seasons with the Sens, he retired and is now an assistant coach for the Sens.
Despite the fact that the draft pick amounted to nothing at all, the fact we were willing to part with a draft pick at all to get Luke Richardson for 22 games in a season that was sliding towards a non-playoffs appearance does not make sense to me. Looking beyond the fact that the draft pick didn't amount to anything, this was the kind of trade we shouldn't be making at that time. A loss no matter how you look at it.
Interesting Fact -
Once again, seriously, Luke Richardson and Luke Schenn are basically the same person right? I mean, damn, talk about coincidence.
Overall - 3 wins, 2 losses
For our first season after the lockout, we didn't do so poorly in the trading front. 3 marginal wins compared to two losses isn't bad. No draft picks traded away that turned into superstars, no prospects that blossomed on other teams' rosters. But don't worry, if you were looking forward to some pain and suffering, we have plenty of seasons to go!
Let me know what you think of how we did in trades this season