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More on Phaneuf: What were the Flames’ scouts watching?

Hockey executives like to say (publicly, at least) a trade should be a “win-win”. That is, both teams should benefit, there should be no winners or losers.

Everyone, including Brian Burke, said all the right things yesterday (he felt obliged to say the deal would put the Flames in the playoffs, for example) but it’s clear Burke knows full well most hockey people can see exactly what has happened.

Determined to shake up their team, the Flames made a huge mistake, both short and longer-term.

Burke grabbed an elite young defenseman and one youngster with, by all accounts, legitimate potential (Aulie) and another useful piece (Sjostrom).

The long and the short is this: as I mentioned in my earlier post, looking back at the Leafs’ history, I cannot recall them ever picking up a bonafide elite-level defenseman in the prime of his career.

Clearly, Phaneuf has not developed the way the Flames had hoped, for whatever reason.

But even if he doesn’t reach the “next level”, what have the Leafs lost? They moved players who were not in their long-term plans, who may be better elsewhere but were stagnating in a losing atmosphere in Toronto.

I remain absolutely shocked that the Flames made this move, without getting a high-end, potential impact player in return. No big scorer, not a top draft choice, no goalie of the future—just a bunch of players that Burke wanted to move anyway.


I’m no cap-expert, but moving Blake’s contract to Anaheim seems, on the surface, like a ‘can’t lose’ deal right there, either, even if Giguerre never recaptures (and he likely won’t) his earlier-career form.

It’s easy, as fans, to get caught up in the euphoria of a trade. Of course things may not turn out as well as we envision, and it will be some time before we can fairly “assess” the deals.

But did you ever—ever—think the Leafs would acquire a player with the toughness and possible star quality of Phaneuf, and not give up something big in return?

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