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Something More to Versteeg Swap?
Posted By Ben Fisher On Feb 15 2011 @ 12:07 pm In Toronto Maple Leafs | No Comments
You never want to make a trade in which team observers are left wondering if the outgoing player had asked to leave. Yet that is precisely the thought I keep returning to upon learning of Kris Versteeg’s trade to Philadelphia in exchange for their first- and third-round selections in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft.
Why else do you give up on a young forward after just 53 games when it isn’t as though he had played far below expectations? Versteeg may not have had huge upside moving forward, but it’s hard to justify jettisoning a gritty player that would have offered 50+ point seasons for the foreseeable future.
Let’s look at the facts:
Maybe this will all make sense in the end as being part of a bigger picture. Maybe the third-rounder is turned around and shipped out alongside, say, Tomas Kaberle (who has reportedly waived his no-trade clause) for top draft picks or young offensive players. Burke has, after all, reportedly been kicking the tires on plenty of young talent, including Jack Skille, David Booth and James Van Riemsdyk, in recent days.
Or maybe the Leafs GM opts to continue collecting draft picks in anticipation of making a major splash at the 2011 Draft. Burke continues to face questions over why he’s abandoned – particularly through the Phil Kessel trade – his build-through-the-draft approach that helped him earn a Stanley Cup in Anaheim.
The problem, however, is that this is a clear about-face from Burke’s approach in acquiring Versteeg – that is, giving up several young pieces to get a supposed future building block. Now, if you match the Flyers’ former first round choice with Philippe Paradis, the late first rounder who went to Chicago in the summer, you are basically left with the Leafs coughing up Viktor Stalberg and Chris DiDomenico for a third-round pick.
If this is a situation of a player wanting out, then Burke did well to act quickly and get a pair of useful draft picks. If not, then the question remains of why Versteeg was available in the first place.
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