Cornwall - Feb. 22, 2011 - As part of my regular contributions to OurHometown.ca, I have decided to write the occasional column about my random thoughts from the world of hockey. For lack of a better name, I will refer to these columns as a "Bag of Pucks". You may agree, you may disagree and that's okay. Drop a line to OurHometown.ca by clicking the link below and provide your thoughts!
TOMAS KABERLE - I think many of us Leafs' fans romanticized how wonderful the return would be on the Kaberle sweepstakes. The reality is, Kaberle did not have to waive his no-trade clause and could have simply left in the off-season when he becomes an unrestricted free-agent. As such, I think GM Brian Burke didn't do that bad in this trade, which saw the Leafs receive prospect centre Joe Colborne, the Bruins' first round pick in 2011 and a conditional second round draft pick. Colborne was a first round pick of the Bruins in 2008. Local hockey fans may remember him from his days when he played for the Camrose Kodiaks in the Royal Bank Cup held in Cornwall. So when you break it down, the Leafs got two first round picks and a second round pick for a guy they could have lost without any compensation in July. This is much more return for the Leafs than John Ferguson got for Mats Sundin
LEAFS LOOKING FOR A D? - Brian Burke was recently quoted on TSN.ca that the Leafs are in the market for a defenceman. My initial thought was why didn't they simply just sign Kaberle to an extension? It likely boils down to what Burke figured Kaberle would expect in terms of his new contract this summer. As such, Burke is out looking for a blueliner. What about Massena native Zach Bogosian? I would also like to see Burke make a move to acquire Brayden Schenn from the Kings. I might be dreaming on both fronts, but isn't that what the Trade Deadline is all about?
ANDERSON FOR ELLIOT - It must be sad times for Sens' fans these days, as they come to the realization that what is left the Stanley Cup Final team of a few years back is being dismantled. It is now time to rebuild. A bright spot in this process has to be the trade of Brian Elliot straight up for Craig Anderson. Bryan Murray did well on this one, assuming he can re-sign him this summer. No doubt he will have plenty of cap room.
BIGGEST SURPRISE THUS FAR - For me, the most surprising trade thus far was the one between Colorado and St. Louis that saw former first overall pick Erik Johnson go to the Avs. No doubt, Johnson has not lived up to expectations but he is only 22 years old and a big body presence on the blue line. Often times young defencemen take a little longer to develop. On the flip-side, St. Louis got some immediate help with power forward Chris Stewart and the quick start of rookie defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk. This will be one of those trades that will be fun to watch over the years to see how it works out.
A LINEMATE FOR SID - Looks like the Penguins have finally found a winger for Sidney Crosby. The Pens moved D Alex Goligoski yesterday to Dallas in exchange for LW James Neal and D Matt Niskanen. Neal already has 72 goals in just over two and a half seasons and will likely see lots of time with #87 when he returns to the line-up. GM Ray Shero had this to say about Neal, "if I was ever going to move Alex it was going to be for the right forward, and with James Neal I think we've found that up-and-coming winger. His best days are ahead of him." I have Neal in one of my two Fantasy pools and I think his stock just went up as a result of this trade.
NEVER SAY NEVER - Last week I mentioned that the Leafs were 6 points out of a playoff spot with 24 games to go. Today they are 7 points out with 23 to go. Losing to the lowly Sens sure didn't help!
LALIBERTE WATCH - Kevin Lajoie wrote a great story about Jacob Laliberte and his quest to set the Colts' single season scoring record. Laliberte is five points away from the mark with four games to go. All four games are at the Ed Lumley arena, so please try to get out and see one or more of these games. You won't be sorry you did.