Just as I was posting the FTB earlier this afternoon, I saw something in my Twitter feed, to wit:
Source tells me "major changes" coming today for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Via DarrenDreger on Twitter, Sun 31 Jan 13:53
And my first thought was, 'Eff me, they're going to sack Wilson'. Oh ye (well, ME) of little faith....
Something enormous is about to go down. Working on it
Via DarrenDreger on Twitter, Sun 31 Jan 16:08
But what could the sharp harp have in store for us?
First of all came the block buster. Matt Stajan, Ian White, Nik Hagman and Jamal Mayers for Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom and Keith Aulie. Let's take a look at what the fourth estate are saying about this doozy.
Your first thought, upon hearing the news that the Calgary Flames traded Dion Phaneuf to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a blockbuster seven-player trade, was probably the same as mine: When did Flames general manager Darryl Sutter start channeling one of his greatly unlamented predecessors, Doug Risebrough?
As anyone who’s watched him play this year realizes, Phaneuf remains a decided work in progress...A succession of coaches has tried to play Phaneuf with a succession of partners, with limited success...Still, the operative point about Phaneuf is that he was a Calder trophy contender; was a Norris trophy contender and theoretically could be that again. Who, among the players coming Calgary’s way, fits that bill?
Great! Strike up the band! Break out the tickertape! But wait....
On one hand Burke appears to have brightened his team's future by bringing to town a young defenceman with a solid track record and massive potential. The flip side is Burke has invested heavily in two young players, Phil Kessel and Phaneuf, neither of whom has a reputation for being leaders. To build a team around these two represents a huge risk. Burke had better be sure he adds veteran leadership to his group moving forward.
Of course, it's wasn't just Phanuef heading east - what of the two other players heading our way, Sjostrom and Aulie?
Sjostrom is just baggage - he teases, but never pleases. Aulie is a huge 6-6 defenseman who will add size and strength to the blue line in several years.
Hmmm. Not unlike the Kessel trade, the jury is going to be out on this one for a good long while yet. I'm giving the last word on this one to Duhatschek:
Typically, any team that acquires a core player without giving up a comparable asset in return wins the deal hands down. Score this one heavily in Brian Burke’s favour.
Of course, the TNL brains trust weren't done for day at this point. Not by a long chalk. If, when you went to bed last night, someone whispered in your ear that Vesa Toskala and Jason Blake would no longer be suiting up in the Blue and White in less than 24 hours, you wouldn't have believed them - would you?
The deal reunites Giguere with his long-time goaltending coach Francois Allaire, as well as former GM Brian Burke.
The most valuable player of the 2003 Stanley Cup playoffs, Giguere needed to waive his no-trade clause in order for the deal to go through.
Rejoice, just rejoice at that news. You can even give TSN a pass for brutal misuse of the word 'netMINDER'
"Obviously I would have liked to stay in Anaheim," Giguere said. "When I re-signed here three years ago, I envisioned things going a little different. Saying that, I could see how they just signed re-signed Jonas, but even before that I could see that they were leaning toward Jonas.
"At 32 years old, I feel like I still have some hockey left in me. I wanted to try to get a chance to be a No. 1 goalie somewhere. I feel like in Anaheim that wasn’t going to happen. I’m glad that now I can get that chance again."
"We are pleased to add Jason and Vesa," Murray said. "Vesa will ge an opportunity to play behind Jonas Hiller and Jason brings veteran leadership and offense to our club."
Bob Murray has a terrific career in satire just waiting for him if the hockey thing doesn't work out....but where there are arrivals, there must be departures.With Toskala, Blake and Mayers gone, who'll perform the vital role of scapegoat now? Step forward one plucky Swede...
In trading away wingers Hagman, Stajan and Mayers, the Leafs suddenly find themselves thin up front. Burke said the forward positions would be likely filled by players currently not in the lineup (Rickard Wallin and John Mitchell) as well as with youngsters in the minors (Viktor Stalberg and Christian Hanson).