Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Leafs can't lose on the Beauchemin trade

This trade was classic Burke. He got the prospect he wanted but had to take back more salary then he sent over to Anaheim. So the deal for Beauchemin has Joffrey Lupul, Jake Gardiner and a conditional 2013 pick.

Jake Gardiner is an excellent prospect and a puck handling defenseman, something that is currently lacking in the Leaf organization. Landing a prospect like Gardiner, a former 1st round draft pick, is quite difficult in today's NHL.

On the surface it would appear that the main asset coming to the Leafs was in fact Lupul. However, Lupul has had serious health issues and there is no guarantee he will completely recover from a blood disorder following back surgery. Still he is just 27 but he has $8.5 million and 2 years remaining on his contract beyond this season. You need a lot of offense to justify that kind of money. Considering how disappointing Beauchemin has been, the Leafs can't really lose on this trade. If Lupul bounces back then the Leafs did well. If Gardiner becomes a decent #2 defenseman the Leafs will have done very well. If both players are a bust then the trade is a wash.

With Lupul in the line up there is the semblance of a second scoring unit. Mike Komisarek is a winner because he will gain some extra minutes. If Keith Aulie is called up from the Marlies then he is a winner too. Given the changes, the Leafs line up will look very much like this:

Kulemin – Grabovski – Kessel
MacArthur – Bozak – Lupul
Versteeg – Brent – Armstrong
Crabb – Boyce – Sjostrom/Rosehill/Orr

Kaberle – Schenn
Komisarek – Phaneuf
Aulie – Gunnarsson


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