Assessing the fallout from Sunday's wheeling, dealing

Phil Coffey – Sr. Editorial Director

And just like that, what had been a sleepy NHL trade market gets a huge jolt of caffeine.

Not surprisingly, Brian Burke was at the epicenter of things. Burke, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ general manager has long said that trades are good for the NHL because they create great interest. Well, he sure did his part in getting tongues wagging Sunday morning, while in the process adding some very important pieces to the Maple Leafs’ future.
Here are the deals:

Maple Leafs swap forwards Niklas Hagman, Matt Stajan and Jamal Mayers, plus defenseman Ian White for defensemen Dion Phaneuf and Keith Aulie and forward Fredrik Sjostrom.

Maple Leafs trade goalie Vesa Toskala and forward Jason Blake to Anaheim for goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere.

In Calgary, GM Darryl Sutter, who denied any interest in making a deal last week, grabbed his slumping team’s attention in a big way by partnering with Burke on a good, old fashioned blockbuster.

Burke’s second trade, with the Anaheim Ducks for goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, has a bigger impact on the Leafs, but solidifies the Ducks’ goaltending situation conclusively.

Let’s take a closer look at how the trades impact the respective teams.

Toronto Maple Leafs — Burke loves big, physical defensemen like Phaneuf, who had been the subject of trade rumors in recent weeks and who hadn’t meshed especially well with new Flames coach Brent Sutter this season.

Phaneuf’s 10 goals and 12 assists in 55 games are not bad numbers for a defenseman for sure, but his whole body of work this season has not lived up to his burgeoning reputation after being selected with the ninth pick in the 2003 Entry Draft. But that will all change now. Phaneuf, still just 24, will play a ton of minutes for coach Ron Wilson, and he is now the centerpiece on which Burke will build the Leafs.

Aulie is another big defenseman, 6-foot-6, 208, and has been playing in the AHL this season. He was a player Burke wanted to add to the organization and it wouldn’t be a stretch to see Aulie with the Leafs in short order.

“Excellent skater for a big man,” Burke said of Aulie, just 20. “This is a guy we coveted and had to work very hard to get him in the deal. We think he’s going to be a real good NHL player down the road for a long time.”

As for Phaneuf, Burke couldn’t have been more effusive in his praise.|NHL|home

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