On January 2nd, 1992, the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Doug Gilmour, Jamie Macoun, Ric Nattress, Kent Manderville and Rick Wamsley from the Calgary Flames. In exchange the Flames got Gary Leeman, Alexander Godynyuk, Jeff Reese, Michel Petit and Craig Berube. Just over a year later, the deal would help Toronto get to their first Conference final in 26 years.
Today Leaf fans are looking over another blockbuster with Calgary, hoping for similar results in the not too distant future.
In one of two major deals on the day, Toronto acquired defencemen Dion Phaneuf and Keith Aulie along with forward Freddy Sjostrom. In return the Flames get defenceman Ian White and forwards Matt Stajan, Nick Hagman and Jamal Mayers.
The Leafs also hope they’ve shored up their goaltending, acquiring J.S. Giguere from Anaheim for forwards Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala.
The old cliché says the winner of any hockey trade is the team that got the best player. But I have a question. Who’s going to score for this team now? Toronto just unloaded 4 of their top 7 scorers. They pulled 142 points out of their roster while the new guys have just 30. What does Toronto get? Hope, I guess. The hope that Phaneuf and Giguere can get their crap together and dominate like they once did.
They’d better. Phaneuf gets 25.5 million over the next 4 years. Giguere will make 7 million dollars in the last year of his deal next season. He’s better than Toskala, who would have been a free agent this summer, but that’s not saying much
With the complete absence of scoring, it’s a good bet this new Leafs/Marlies hybrid will plummet like an expansion team. That means Leaf fans will have another chapter to add to their book of misery, this time watching Boston use their pick to select Taylor Hall this summer. As a result, I’d expect Burke to make a hard run at Ilya Kovalchuk this July.
The Leafs were bound for 28th place anyway. Who cares if you’re 30th? Tearing down the house was the only solution. The question is, will Phaneuf truly represent a solid pillar in a proper foundation? All in all, I support this deal, only because there will be a few more local sightings of his girlfriend, Elisha Cuthbert.