Sunday, January 31, 2010

"The juice in the GM job is deals..."

That quote comes from Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke at a press conference earlier today announcing the the first major trades of 2010.

We have admit to having something of a man-crush on Burke. His public persona might be gruff, supremely self-assured, maybe a bit too far toward the neanderthal end of the spectrum when it comes to the sort of talent toward which he gravitates, and perhaps at times something of a jerk, but as a manager of an organization, he is not boring and he gets results.

And today is why the Maple Leafs entrusted the keys to the franchise to Burke.

There seems to be a flurry of activity in Toronto today as the Leafs got a head start on the 2010-2011 season. Gone to the Calgary Flames are:

Niklas Hagman
Matt Stajan
Jamal Meyers
Ian White

The Leafs get:

Dion Phaneuf
Fredrik Sjostrom
Keith Aulie

First, the Leafs get younger -- Sjostrom is the oldest of the trio going to the Leafs at 26, three of the departing Leafs are older. They get arguably tougher, if only for the addition of Phaneuf (no surprise that Burke would go in that direction). They get the best player in the deal overall in Phaneuf (despite his troubles this year), and they get a good prospect in Aulie. The Leafs appear to add $317,000 in salary cap (annualized), according to James Mirtle.

The Flames are getting a couple of players who are unrestricted free agents at the end of the year (Hagman, Stajan) and an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent (White). For them, it could be a chance to change the mix (i.e., move Phaneuf) and get a cleaner slate on which to draw for next season.

And they weren't done. It is now being reported that the Leafs are sending Vesa Toskala and Jason Blake to the Anaheim Ducks for Jean-Sebastien Giguere. That is a cap saving of $2.0 million for the Leafs (annualized). And, with Giguere having one more year after this on his deal, the Leafs can have a more orderly transition to the Jonas Gustavsson era in goal, should it come to pass. For the Flames, they get the freedom that comes from this being the last year of Toskala's contract (a $4.0 million cap hit, annualized).

Toronto is probably out of the race for the playoffs this year -- making up 11 points and climbing over seven teams is a tall order with 26 games left -- but Burke has gotten a jump on his brother GM's on both the trading season and in getting his ducks (or Leafs) in a row for next year.

Guess this trumps that Penguins/Red Wings game as the story of the day, eh?

Here are clips from Burke's press conference from earlier today announcing the day's activity...

1 comment:

Left Wing Lock said...

I loved in the third video, when asked what the cap situation after the Dion Phaneuf deal was, Burke said:

"It's like a new pair of underwear - uncomfortably tight."

Great stuff, thanks for posting this.