by PuckStopsHere on 03/08/09 at 03:41 AM ET
One trade that was made on deadline day was the Tampa Bay Lightning trading Olaf Kolzig, Jamie Heward, Andy Rogers and a 2009 4th round draft pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Richard Petiot. This is an interesting trade because it basically amounts to selling a fourth round draft pick to the Leafs. Olaf Kolzig had surgery on his left bicep muscle and will miss the rest of the season. His contract expires at the end of the season. Jamie Heward suffered a concussion and should be out for the rest of the season. His contract expires at the end of the season. Neither of those two players will play a game for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the Leafs will pay them the rest of the season. For their part paying the Tampa Bay contracts, the Leafs obtain a fourth round pick and Andy Rogers from the Lightning in exchange for Richard Petiot.
Neither Rogers nor Petiot look like NHL prospects at this point. They are AHL defenceman who don’t show much NHL upside right now. Rogers is four years younger and a former first round draft pick, so one could argue he is the better prospect, but given the fact he hasn’t scored a goal yet in three years of AHL play, he isn’t close to the NHL and likely never will be.
The important piece of the return for the Toronto Maple Leafs is the fourth round draft pick. Essentially, they paid about $450,000 for a fourth round pick. That is a high financial price for such a draft pick. The point behind the trade is the principle. Toronto has shown that draft picks can be effectively sold, if they are hidden in deals like this. If there is a market for selling draft picks, Toronto is a team with money that will buy. Toronto is trying to create this market.
As for Tampa Bay, they are in financial trouble. The “maverick style” of the owners has turned the team into a bit of a laughing stock. Their attendance has dropped significantly under the new ownership. This is not good as Oren Koules and Len Barrie never started on firm financial footing. They had to borrow the money from former owner Bill Davidson to purchase the team, as they were unable to obtain it b more traditional means. Every bit of reduction in salary helps. This trade likely will drop the Lightning below the salary midpoint this season which allows them to obtain additional revenue sharing from escrow money. That is the Tampa Bay motivation to sell a draft pick.
This has been a story that James Mirtle has covered quite well.
Is this trade the precedent for selling draft picks that makes it a more common procedure in the future or is it an odd one time deal? We shall have to wait for future seasons to find out if Brian Burke created a new kind of trade.
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