Leafs acquire Wayne Primeau

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    After a short hiatus, Brian Burke has gotten right back on the horse. RDS and TSN are reporting that the Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired checking forward Wayne Primeau and a 2nd round pick in 2011 from the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Anton Stralman, forward Colin Stuart, and a 7th round pick in 2012. Primeau was limited to just 4 assists in 24 regular season games for Calgary last season due to a broken foot. The 33 year old carries 1 year left on his contract at a value of $1.4 million. Anton Stralman recorded 16 points in 36 AHL games and was named to the league’s all-star team last season.

    This comes as a bit of a surprise considering the Leafs have too many stay-at-home defenders, but have decided to instead ship out their most promising young puck mover. It was becoming increasinlgly clear over the past year that Stralman was growing frustrated at not having the opportunity to play full-time at the NHL level, and this trade seems to indicate that there may have been more tension behind closed doors than initially imagined.

    With Schenn, Kaberle, Komisarek, Beauchemin and Exelby all expected to have guaranteed jobs this coming fall, it may have ultimately come down to Anton Stralman vs. Ian White. The former never managed to hold down a roster spot the NHL level, while the latter excelled in his first season under Ron Wilson, playing 23 minutes and recording 26 points to go along with a +6 rating.

    Despite all of the above, this move still raises a ton of red flags and is alarmingly reminiscent of the moves that buried past Maple Leaf General Managers. Despite his constant bouts with inconsistency,  Stralman displayed the occasional flashes of brilliance and the style of game perfectly suited for today’s NHL. Former Leaf prospect Brad Boyes potted 43 goals for the Blues last season, and Carlo Colaiacovo scored 29 points in just 62 games played, just 2 points less than Lee Stempniak, while displaying excellent poise and two-way play as he ran their powerplay unit. Next, we were all made aware of the imminent departure of former WHL goaltender of the year Justin Pogge, and now news of Stralman being shipped out before his 23rd birthday. Oh boy.

    Some readers are beginning to speculate that Calgary’s 2nd round pick could be flipped along with another asset to re-acquire Toronto’s 2010 2nd round pick from the Chicago Blackhawks, in order to throw an offer sheet at Boston’s restricted free agent winger Phil Kessel. Unless Toronto swings another move to dump salary or demotes a player to the minors, it is unlikely than the $3M in remaining cap space would be enough to get such a move done.

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