Phaneuf/Giguere: Reaction


Brian Burke today managed what nobody seemed to believe was possible in the salary cap era: he pulled off a pair of multi-player trades on the same team, drastically changing the image of his team and two others in the process.  We’ll get to Toronto, but let’s take a quick look at the Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames first.

Anaheim Ducks

In: Jason Blake, Vesa Toskala

Out: Jean-Sebastien Giguere

For the Ducks, the algebra here was pretty straight forward: they just re-signed Jonas Hiller to be their starting goaltender, and that meant they had $6.0 million invested in backup goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere.  They needed to move money around, and to do that they were willing to take on Vesa Toskala’s remaining dollars (he’ll be a free agent at year end) in order to get their hands on Jason Blake.  Blake should be able to fill a top-six role; he’s a useful second line winger who does a lot of things well but is also prone to long scoring droughts. 

This trade makes Anaheim better today, although they’d better hope Hiller stays healthy, as Toskala’s essentially a $4.0 million paperweight at this point.  Giguere’s a tricky asset to figure value for, since there aren’t a ton of teams likely willing to take the risk on him, but it’s a little surprising the Ducks couldn’t squeeze a little more out of Toronto.  Still, as I said they’re a better team right now because of the trade, so in that sense it’s probably a win for the club.

Calgary Flames

In: Niklas Hagman, Matt Stajan, Ian White, Jamal Mayers

Out: Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom, Keith Aulie

Dion Phaneuf has been an overrated commodity for years, but faced some surprisingly bad press this season, despite the fact that he’s actually made some big strides.  His offence has decreased from last season but offence was never the problem with Phaneuf.  This season, Phaneuf’s been playing top-pairing minutes against the best opponents alongside Robyn Regehr and normally his loss would constitute a major short-term blow.  In this case, however, the Flames are absurdly deep on the back end and between Regehr, Jay Bouwmeester, Mark Giordano and incoming defenceman Ian White the Flames should be okay in the short-term.  In the long term, this really becomes a question of whether Phaneuf will be a better defenceman than Bouwmeester, and Sutter might be okay here too.  Phaneuf will have the edge in offence, but Bouwmeester should be the better two-way player.

Matt Stajan and Niklas Hagman represent some fairly serious improvements to the Flames forward corps, and it’s an offensive transplant the team desperately needed.  Stajan was the most effective scorer on the Leafs’ power play and should help the Flames in that department, while both he and Hagman should help the team score 5-on-5.

Jamal Mayers is basically deadweight and I have no idea what interest Sutter has in him; he’ll bring a physical game and that vaunted veteran leadership but other than that he’s of little interest.

Toronto Maple Leafs  

In: Dion Phaneuf, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Fredrik Sjostrom, Keith Aulie

Out: Niklas Hagman, Matt Stajan, Ian White, Jason Blake, Jamal Mayers, Vesa Toskala


The word ‘bold’ almost seems understated looking at Burke’s moves today, which completely changed the dynamic of both his blue line and goaltending while gutting the top half of his forward corps.


Jean-Sebastien Giguere is an immediate upgrade in net and will easily be the best goaltender between the pipes since Ed Belfour held the goaltending job before the lockout.  Giguere has struggled since the death of his father midway through last season, but he does possess the talent to bounce back and Toronto should be a good fit for him.


Dion Phaneuf is a top-pairing defenceman right now, and a move to the Eastern Conference should suit him just fine.  His defence has improved this past year; he’s played top-pairing minutes and done a fairly good job of it, although his offence has suffered.  Fans in Toronto will love him, while fans everywhere else will undoubtedly hate him.  His offence will bounce back and his defence should remain at least passable.

Fredrik Sjostrom isn’t anything special but will more than replace Jamal Mayers, but that’s where the good news ends up front.  The loss of players like Stajan, Blake and Hagman will have a negative effect on Toronto’s offence; they’re all more or less support players, but combined they represent roughly one-third of Toronto’s even-strength offence.  The Leafs are ludicrously heavy on the back end, with nine NHL defenceman (seven of whom will earn $2.9 million-plus this season) at a combined cap hit of just under $31 million.  Phil Kessel, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Mikhail Grabovksi are now the only semi-legitimate offensive threats up front.  The team desperately needs to shift some money from the back end to the forwards, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Burke isn’t finished.

Still, with that caveat, the Leafs are probably better today if only because they’ve stopped the gaping wound in net.

Comments (17)

  1. WOW, i think the Flames got what they needed, Leafs got better for the long run, and i dont know what Anaheim is going to do with Blake and Toskala.

  2. Toronto Stole these deals today….The players we lost were not putting up the offensive numbers expected, and it won’t be hard to replace them. Phaneuf has as many goals as Blake, so it’s nothing to worry about. We just received a Top-tier goaltender and a rock-solid defenseman for a bunch of guys that will be rental players. Nothing to complain about. I remember saying Phaneuf to Leafs last week and a very upset fan said I was dreaming….Wish I could see his face now!

  3. wow, the JSG trade is mind boggling. Blake and Vesa? This is a trade I would make on NHL 10 and the game would say ” sorry you idiot, but thats not a fair trade” lol
    JSG will be our #1 everyone watch

  4. All the teams won really, well the ducks not so as much

    Filled in there holes on offense that they needed and also got a sal cap reduction

    Made the team stronger in the long run and freed up roughly 2 mill in cap also got a number one d man once kabby is gone with beauch and a starter in goal

    freed up nexts years cap thats it

  5. WHAT. A. FARCE. I nearly spit out my coffee this morning when I saw this on TSN. I honestly have no idea what Sutter was thinking here! Good for him to see that we needed offense, but at what cost!

    Sutter you better have a crystal ball there predicting a Stanley Cup in the near future from this seemingly craptacular deal.

    @Art: Hahaha maybe it was……. it would explain a lot.

  6. Did the Flames get hosed today or what? They give up one of the league’s top blue-chip defensive talents in Dion Phaneuf for 3 soon-to-be UFAs and a second/third liner. Sure, Phaneuf hasn’t has a great year but defencemen take longer to develop than forwards do. Meethinks Mr. Sutter was into some of Grandpa’s Cough Medicine when he pulled the trigger on this trade and Burke was smart enough to capitalize. Surely if Sutter had any sanity he could have gotten much much more from any other club than what he got from the Leafs.

    The Ducks-Leafs deal was, for all practical purposes, Blake for Giguere straight-up. Jonathan you are right in that the Ducks really should have tried to get more out of the Leafs, but it wasn’t nearly as much of a fleecing as what the Flames got.

    Today, Burke just proved to the hockey world that he’s as clever as any other GM in the league.

  7. Well personally I don’t mind the deals TO did, they dumped Stajan, Mayers, Toskala, and Blake which makes me very happy. Hagman was a good scorer and his absence will be noticed most likely. White I’m really sad to see go though, the guy did make more saves than Toskala. Calgary, if you don’t know him yet, you’ll love the guy.

    The idea of Phaneuf on the team seems that him alone will give the team a much more physical presence. The guy is only 24, so it’s not even like he has no chance of rebounding to his old numbers.

    Aulie from what I’ve heard has a play style most comparable to Tyler Myers, and that doesn’t have me regreting him at all. I guess basically he could be seen as someone to come in once Exelby is moved too, but that wont happen this season.

    Gigure will be an asset in the sense of mentoring Gustavsson and still giving more stability between the pipes from the pains of the Toskala era.

    Really until the deadline or off-season comes, we won’t know what Toronto’s offence will be like. However, I’ll make sure to watch Tuesday’s game to see what basically the new Toronto team will look like.

  8. The Leafs really took Anaheim to the cleaners in succesfully dumping Blake and Toskala… Flames needed to move one of the three and Phaneuf seemed to be the odd man out all year. Sad to see Phaneuf go, but I feel this is the first of a few moves for Mr. D Sutter, as now we have less big contract guys soaking up big dollars, and more flexibility for tradeing or signing after the year. The stat that jumped off the page at me was Hagman 20 goals already, he could go for 30 – 35 this year, and stajan should fit in okay, givin that he is now the Flames second leading scorer. Wiith White now on our back end, we still looking very solid on the defence, and White actually has 4 more points then Phaneuf this year. Hopefully thsi trade begins to look as bad as the Kessel deal after a few months!

  9. The Leafs just gave Boston Taylor Hall which is fine as we now have the defense to handle anyone. With Kabby feeding Dion feathers on the point, Phaneuf is back in the 25 goal range. The blueline just got a lot bigger and a lot better albeit at a steep cost up front (in terms of # of players, not quality).
    Anaheim just got much better,gaining Blake for a goalie they were no longer using. They are making a run and he will fit in nicely as a 2nd line scoring winger. They gain cap room for the future and with Niedermeyer probably off the books next year…who knows…make a run a Kovalchuk?
    Calgary was obviously desparate,something must’ve gone down off ice. No way they trade Phaneuf and Sjostrom and a decent kid prospect for what they got back (3 expiring contracts+a middling euro winger). I guess they need the flexibility for next year (Bourque is up for a contract) and the forward depth to make a playoff run this year but I think the Sutter’s just conceded that this will not be the Flame’s year.

    Anaheim wins the day,Leafs win tomorrow; I’m not sure what the Flames were thinking.

  10. jordan your a muppet. the Gigure trade was a salary dump obviously, are you 12?

  11. Wowwww Mr. Brukey i have to say “i didn’t think you could do it, like the way you have” i’m impressed!!!!! It was only yesterday i told a friend at the card store that Dion was coming to Toronto {of course he laughed stating the Leafs had no value for a player of that calibre} I can”t imagen what Bruke has next in line but God bless him for coming to TML. The Leafs accquired a 24 y/o blue line franchise player. Hey you can’t get him for free well the Leafs almost did by the great departure of Hagman and White and those other bums, and oh yea White is a free agent next year so don’t be surprised to see him in the blue in white come off season he’s a quality blue liner with great potenial i myself will have to adopt with him not there he was Mr. Tim Horton in the making of this era. Good for something there in Calgery Sutter for getting him in the package. Blake and Toskala take this chance to start somewhere new bcuz when they see what you got to offer, there going to dump you guys alot faster than the Leafs did!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jiggy welcome to T.O let your number one status in net bring closer in Anahiem because with you gone there, Anahiem will never win a cup again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well done Mr. Bruke well done just like the swift trade for Kessel. WE DON’T NEED NO FIRST ROUND PICKS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Ummmm, 1 question, who scores for the Leafs? Kessel or the Poni? Last night, Stajan set Kessel up for 2 goals and then you really didn’t see him for the rest of the night.
    Look at Calgary this year, great defence but lacking the offence. They had trouble scoring goals so they pulled a trade to get more offence. Look’s like the Rangers are following suit because if Gaborik isn’t scoring and Lundquist doesn’t stand on hisd head, they lose.
    It will be interesting ……..

  13. i’m over my initial reaction of thinking burke got squeezed again…. whatever…. now i’m just looking forward to watching dion and jig and not having to watch toskala and blake
    (white is just getting better and better though)

  14. $31 mil for a defence that gives up the most goals in the nhl!!!! wow great trade….a $7 mil back up goalie for a 25 goal scorer who will play on the second line and have no pressure on him, oh and a back up goalie…again good trade. The leafs just gave up 40% of their goals for an overated Dman and a goalie who hasen’t been a starter for over 2 years. Is Dion he $6.5 mil That being said Aulie could be the wild card.

  15. oh and i like what burke is saying about “not asking kaberle to waive his no trade because that would be classless” it sure would… even worse was fletch asking sundin, the face of the leafs, to waive his….. lowlife fletch… and if you minus kaberle now you really havent improved the d…

  16. [...] Willis, Hockey or Die: “Dion Phaneuf is a top-pairing defenceman right now, and a move to the Eastern Conference should [...]

  17. Cudos to Burke for putting a very formittable team going into the future with two outstanding trades . Burke and Leafs are the big winners here overall , and Flames the big losers of the day . As an Oiler fan, happy Flames lost a lot of their forte – grit , intimadation and toughness ! Don’t know what the Sutters were thinking but i think they will be much weaker than before the trades in more ways than one. Leafs will be quite intimadating on back end now , and Giguere plays exceptional behind such a defence . Kessel will also benefit from such a defence and stellar goal keeping as well . Leaf fans may even see a transition to trap style hockey until such time as more pieces to the offence can emerge . Leafs may not be as free wheeling as before , but they’ll definitely be a much better club overall . Leafs ,with any chemistry from trades, may yet make a late dash to a playoff spot as early as this season with such a strong and physical back end that is now in place .

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