February 09 2011 06:54PM
The Leafs have dealt Francois Beauchemin for Joffrey Lupul, Jake Gardiner and a conditional pick. The terms to the conditional pick are so convoluted that my head hurts thinking about them but look at the trade this way: Lupul is a salary dump and Gardiner is a blue chip defensive prospect.
At even strength Beauchemin leads the team in both quality of competition and time on ice. Jake Gardiner is third in points on a loaded Wisconsin team in the WCHA... from the blueline. Joffrey Lupul is a salary dump with considerably more upside than running out Joey Crabb. So why should you, Joe Leafs Fan (an amusing construct I will use from now on that is in no way a cheap straw man and rhetorical trampoline) care about this?
This could finally be the move that signals the Leafs have given up on their win now approach. Last trade deadline the Leafs moved Alexei Ponikarovsky to Pittsburgh for Luca Caputi rather than take a second round pick. A year later Luca Caputi hasn't dazzled in the AHL and the Leafs traded at the draft to grab a second to acquire Brad Ross.
This year Burke is taking a much less polished prospect who has higher upside. The Leafs were set to announce a second trade today but announced that it will be completed soon.
Kris Versteeg has been involved with trade rumors but it's hard to see how you could turn a 24 year old on pace for 50+ points into something better. Tomas Kaberle is a UFA this summer but would have to waive his no trade clause. Jonas Gustavsson seems expendable but with his heart flareup today and poor play it's hard to imagine bringing back useful assets for him.
We'll know what's going on in a few days but we can only hope that the Leafs are finally going to focus on youth instead of winning right now. The future is bright.