Sorry for the absence, I’ve been working like a dog the last few days. As I’m watching the Leafs play the B’s (currently leading in the 2nd), I figured I’d take a second to discuss some of this week’s trades and rumors.
Obviously, the biggest news of the week for the Leafs was the trade of Kris Versteeg. At first, I was less than thrilled, and I still have mixed feelings, so if this comes off a bit jumbled, I apologize. The pros: a first and third round pick, on paper, sound like a good return, and will do nicely in restocking the Leafs’ short supply of picks in the 2011 draft. When you consider, as many have already noted, that a first and third round pick for Viktor Stalberg, Phillipe Paradis and Chris DiDomenico (what was traded to Chicago for Versteeg), the trade is obviously a win for Toronto.
However, Versteeg is a sure-fire NHLer, with tons of upside. A 24-year old 20-goal scorer who can play on both PK and PP units isn’t a n everyday find, and while he didn’t fill the top-six role Burke envisioned for him, his versatile skillset makes him a valuable asset. Consider the fact that Philadelphia is a definite Cup contender, and even more so with Versteeg on the roster, and the draft picks’ value suddenly doesn’t sound so great.
If this were the last of Burke’s moves before the deadline, I’d be in a much worse mood about the whole thing, especially since the rumors leading up to the trade had James Van Riemsdyk coming the other way. However, Burke has made it very clear he’s not yet done, and the rumors continue to fly.
The pickup of Aaron Voros adds some size and grit to the roster depth, but not much more. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of Voros, and he was a disappointment in the small amount of playing time he’s seen this year with Anaheim. Still, he’s a gritty fourth-line type player that’s certainly worth a 7th round draft pick, which is little more than a crapshoot at best.
The Tomas Kaberle saga continues, as rumors continue to fly, and not just from Eklund. More than one sportswriter in the know has indicated that there is a very good chance that this is the year he finally will be dealt, with the Bruins as the most likely destination. According to SportsNet, Kaberle has given the Leafs permission to speak with the Bruins, breaking the “veil of secrecy” that Burke and Rick Curran (Kaberle’s agent), had announced would hang over any proceedings.
Further muddling the Leafs’ goaltending situation this week, Jussi Rynnas broke his finger during action with the Marlies, making it a near-impossibility for JS Giguere to be moved, since Gustavsson is already on the shelf recovering from yet another heart procedure. Obviously, it’s still a possibility, and it will be interesting to see how Burke proceeds over the next 13 days.