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LLL - Where Were the Leafs on Wojtek Wolski?

Just over a month ago, the Washington Capitals traded Left Wing Tomas Fleischmann (or is he a Center, Pierre McGuire?) to the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Scott Hannan. Many would contend that Washington lost that trade – surely they could have gotten a better return on Flash.

George McPhee, of course, had his reasons for making the trade. The main reason? Bringing in a defensive defenseman to solidify the Capitals’ play in their own zone.

Leaf Nation – plagued by the idea that every player available through trade or free agency will come to Toronto – wondered why Brian Burke couldn’t have traded Francois Beauchemin to land Fleischmann.

McPhee went with Hannan for one obvious reason though: Hannan’s contract expires this season, allowing the Capitals to free up the cap room from his $4.5 Million contract to sign Alexander Semin.

We did not have what Washington wanted. Leaf Nation can accept that.

Fast forward a month later and this time the New York Rangers acquire Wojtek Wolski from the Phoenix Coyotes for Michael Rozsival. This is less than a year after Phoenix traded Peter Mueller to acquire Wolski from the Colorado Avalache.

Wolski, after putting up 65 points in 80 games last year, had slowed down significantly this year. In 36 games he has only 16 points.

Rozsival, meanwhile, is 32 and has a contract with a $5 Million annual Cap-Hit. He has played in only 32 games this season, missing more than 10 games due to injury issues.

What is noteworthy, however, is that the Leafs have a very similar player in Francois Beauchemin who is 2 years younger, has a contract with an annual Cap hit of $3.8M and has higher value in the marketplace than Rozsival.

In fact, in recent weeks it had been reported that the Leafs were in fact offered Wolski for Beauchemin in a 1 for 1 deal. Brian Burke wanted a pick from Phoenix on top of the struggling Wolski. Phoenix instead chose to go after Rozsival.

From the Leafs’ standpoint, flipping Beauchemin for Wolski would have been exactly the type of deal that needs to be made. He is young, skilled and would slot perfectly into Toronto’s Top 6 on Phil Kessel’s line as a playmaker.

Why, then, would Burke let the deal fall apart because of a pick? Is it possible that the Leafs can land a better player than Wolski for Beauchemin?

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: francois+beauchemin, wojtek+wolski

Comments

Evilpens's avatar

Cause they NEED a Center ??

Posted by Evilpens on 01/11/11 at 04:55 PM ET

lordhogie's avatar

I don’t think that it is unreasonable for BB to want a draft pick out of any deal that involves Beauchemin. He is one of the more attractive assets that the leafs have. Without a first or second round pick in the draft, it makes sense for him to ask for a pick.

Beauchemin will be a little more attractive come trade deadline. He can afford to wait.

Posted by lordhogie from Calgary on 01/11/11 at 05:21 PM ET

Avatar

Why would the Leafs want to pick-up an under-achieving Center when their band of non-first liners is doing a servicable job for less money? Pulling a trade for Wolski would have been a GIANT mistake and would have removed Beauchamin from a better deal down the road.

The Leafs need to stop with projects and hoping that under-achievers, or “has-beens”, can resurrect their career in Toronto - it is the hardest place to do that. I urge the TML brass to hold onto their assets and only make a move that is a near certainty ~ No more “We’ll sees”. Load up on confirmed prospects (Schenn, Gudbranson, Kassain, etc.), young talent (Versteeg, Neal, Benn, Carter, etc.) to achieve long-term success, rather than unsure 3rd round picks or projects. They should seek to trade away vets that other teams covet for the short term. Only after this attitude is adopted will the Leafs move from the “But They Have Such Potential” pile to the “You Just Wait” column.

It seems that Burke is leaning in this direction, and thus should be applauded for not picking up Wolski. Let’s hope this is the case throughout the next month as well. He has been spot on by taking chances on the College kids, which only costs the Leafs money, not talent.

I couldn’t disagree more with this piece, sorry.

Posted by Gilmours Teeth on 01/11/11 at 05:55 PM ET

Shiv's avatar

Thanks for the comments guys.

@Pens - All of Leaf Nation is hoping they find a Center before next season.

@Hogie - Definitely agree. Closer to the deadline look for the Leafs to be far more active this year. They are starting to figure out exactly what they need.

@GIlmour - I was trying to imply that Burke must have better opportunities out there if he rejected a deal for Wolski. Otherwise he would have jumped on this opportunity.

Posted by Shiv from Toronto on 01/11/11 at 06:00 PM ET

Avatar

Last 8 games the Caps have allowed 11 goals. Hannan has been a major reason. 28 straight penalty kills, Caps best PK player in that stretch: Hannan. Flash is a capable 20-30 goals scorer that has shown ZERO grit in the postseason. No one here misses him.

Posted by flacco5 on 01/11/11 at 07:14 PM ET

inferno31's avatar

Can we get this blog listed in the Blog tab on the banner?

Posted by inferno31 on 01/11/11 at 07:25 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Can we get this blog listed in the Blog tab on the banner?

Posted by inferno31 on 01/11/11 at 05:25 PM ET

All new blogs will be shortly.

Just waiting on one more thing that needs to be looked at.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 01/11/11 at 07:28 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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