With nearly every current roster player a product of a Brian Burke trade, draft, or signing no one can argue that this isn’t his team. Know for his blockbusters, Burke has not been shy in the trade market since landing in Toronto. Below is a list of the biggest moves he’s made (not all trades are included, but feel free to mention a missing-but-important one if you feel so compelled). So, let’s get to it, and break these trades down:
One of the most hotly contested trades in Leafs history. Countless words have been written about the winner of this trade. All things said and done, in Burke’s own words “Chiarelli has a ring”. We all know what Kessel has done for the leafs this season; however, on the flip side, Segin is on a tear of his own. We can’t project what the outcome could have been had this trade not taken place, but Burke has said multiple times that he would do it again in a heartbeat.
Tor: Lupul, Gardiner, Conditional 4th
When the leafs went into selling mode after starting the season very poorly, Burke stuck with what he knew, and shipped Beauchemin back to the Ducks organization, a familiar trading partner. Analysts at the time claimed that for the leafs the trade was all about Gardiner, many seeing Lupul and overpaid (at the time, second only the Kessel salary wise). Fast forward, and they were half right. Gardiner is now logging well over 20 minutes a night and has recieved very high praise up and down the organization. Lupul, on the other hand, is again only second to Kessel, except that now it is in league scoring.
Tor: Phanuf, Sjostrom, Aulie
Cal: Stajan, Hagman, Mayers, White
Possibly one of the most schocking trades in recent history – no one saw this one coming. The Leafs paid, what was at the time, a steep price in two of their top six and defender that was hot as fire (and had a pretty sweet moustache to ‘boot). Shortly thereafter, Dion was given the C, and after a slow start in Toronto, has regain his status as one of the top D-men in the league. Sjostrom was a PK specialist in his time with the Buds, but was not resigned. Aulie has yet to live up to his potential, but considering Phaneuf’s resurgence and the decline of the players that went to Calgary, he is just gravy.
Ana: Toskala, Blake
Burke pulled the trigger on this on mere moments after the Phaneuf trade. This trade was largely a salary dump for Anaheim and an anti-venom for Toronto (Blake and Toskala had to go). Giggy never returned to his cup winning form, but was non the less an important transition to the eventual James Reimer. Unloading the contracts of Blake and Toskala went a far way for the Maple Leafs and helped Burke put his stamp on the team.
Tor: 1st, conditional 2nd, Colbourne
Many saw this trade as some revenge against the Bruins. Kaberle had to waive his no-trade clause and let the leafs move him, but was essentially useless in B-town, being reduced to third pairing minutes as the playoffs wore on. The massive center has been owning the AHL and contributed 4 points in 6 games with the big club. He is largely seen as the big power center of the future. Toronto got a first back, and was not offered a contract by Chiarelli (now he’s Carolina’s problem).
Tor: 1st, 3rd
Acquired from Chicago after their cup win, Versteeg was good in Toronto, but after a half a failing season, Burke shipped him off for some nice picks. Many saw this trade as Burke admiting defeat; however, it essentially boiled down to turning Sweat (who made it know he would not sign in Toronto), DiDomenico, Stalberg, and some nobody (Paradis, if you’re counting) into a 1st and 3rd (and about 15 goals for the leafs, I suppose).
So the question begs asking, which of the above trades was:
i) Best for the Leafs in the long-run
ii) Most one sided for the Leafs
iii) The biggest ‘win’ for the Leafs
Now discuss! (and try to be civil…)
Thanks for reading.