Dion Phaneuf! JS Giguere! And now Ilya Kovalchuk is on the block?
Did Mike Keenan and Trader Phil Esposito return to the NHL's GM ranks?
Now supposedly it's difficult to make trades in this salary cap era, but Leafs GM Brian Burke for all his bluster may be a trailblazer. Why not just trade salary for salary to improve your team seems to be his way of thinking. Kudos to him!
The Flames absorbed $4.4 million or so for the rest of the season picking up the four Leafs (and two Rangers in Christopher Higgins and Ales Kotalik). They shed $4.7 million in sending Phaneuf and Fredrik Sjostrom to the Leafs and Olli Jokinen (Check out Olli Jokinen's moves over the years here) and Brandon Prust to the Rangers. Keith Aulie's contract, which the Leafs picked up, does not factor into the equation as he is not playing in the NHL right now.
The Leafs all tolled shed $6.9 million (remember this is just for this season) in the deal with Calgary and sending Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala to Anaheim. They absorb just $4.8 million and, let's be honest, either made their team better or now have one HUGE tradeable asset down the road in Phaneuf.
Did somebody say Rangers?
Going forward Sjostrom is a wash at $750,000 for next year then he' s a UFA at age 28 in 2011.
Giggy is expensive at $7 million next season but he's a UFA at age 33 July 1, 2011, so that's a win-win for the Leafs. Either Giggy returns to form, or worse comes to worse, they trade him next season to some team like Philly who love to rotate goalies on an annual basis, or let him walk after getting soem mileage out of the Conn Smythe winner.
Phaneuf, if you truly believe he's the next Chris Pronger (with his own Web site!), is an expensive version of such being signed through 2013/14 at an average of $6.375 million per. The upside is he's only 24. They'll love him in Tarrana because he's basically a defenceman version of Wendel Clark (who ironically played D as a junior his entire career with Regina). Hey, if Bryan McCabe can be thought of as an all-star and the second coming of Ian Turnbull, what are they going to make of Elisha Cuthbert's boyfriend? Methinks Dion needs to start thinking of opening up a chain of donut shops. Isn't that what Leaf defensemen who are physical specimens do there, Tim Horton?
The Flames rid themselves of a guy who just did not fit into the Sutter system. Really, with Jay Bouwmeester there, do you really need a Dion Phaneuf when you add in a Robyn Regehr (he has his own Web site, too?) who can provide the toughness without taking dumb penalties?
Lastly, Anaheim got rid of Giggy's contract so until the end of the 2010/11 season now save $9.2 million and added close to $4.5 million in Blake and Toskala. The Vesanator is a UFA at the end of the season. So with Ducks' goalie Jonas Hiller signed for a reasonable cap hit of $4.5 million over the next four seasons, look for the Ducks to cut Toskala loose at season's end or sign him dirt cheap. Blake still is an expensive second liner really but he's a servicable player who once outside Toronto should return to his pesky 20- to 30-goal plateau. All in all, the Ducks have some needed cap space to go after free agents in the summer.
So, all I have to say why wait for summer, is bring on the Kovalchuk trade!