Ch-ch-ch-changes…hopefully for the better…

1 02 2010

Sunday was a very significant day for Toronto Maple Leafs fans. The Leafs have been struggling big time so far this season. One of the cellar-dwellers in the National Hockey League, only one team has being faring worse than the Leafs to this point in the season.

After the Leafs once again blew a significant lead: this time, coughing up 5 straight goals after taking a 3-0 lead, in a 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Saturday, general manager Brian Burke pulled the trigger on two major trades Sunday, bringing top defenceman Dion Phaneuf and veteran goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere to Toronto.

The trades involved a total of 10 players: Burke sent four players to Calgary to get Phaneuf plus two others; and then later traded a pair to Anaheim to pick up Giguere.

Both of these trades make good sense to me. A shakeup in Leafs Land was indeed necessary. And in the process, Burke picked up a couple of players that could help turn the fortunes of a struggling hockey club, and in so doing, Burke has indeed put his stamp on the club since taking over as the Leafs’ President and GM in November 2008. Granted, the turnaround is likely too late to help Toronto’s fortunes for this season, but these deals could very well help the club down the road, in a way we don’t yet know.

In the meantime, Phaneuf will certainly help on the blue line, likely forming half of one defensive pair, with Tomas Kaberle heading up another pair. And I have to think that Giguere will become the Leafs’ number one goaltender. Vesa Toskala was certainly not getting the job done (hence his ticket to Anaheim to bring Giguere to Toronto), and Jonas Gustavsson, while showing times of brilliance, is too young and too inconsistent to be the number one netminder. Meanwhile, Giguere is a proven backstop and should take on the bulk of goaltending duties for the remainder of the season.

And I don’t think that Burke has finished wheeling and dealing. There have been indications that at least one more trade is in the works.

“Stay tuned.”

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