This Week In Ex-Leafs News

This Week In Ex-Leafs News

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    A couple of deals went down today, involving some players you might be familiar with:

    Stralman

    Remember the fuss that ensued when Stralman was dealt to Calgary earlier this summer?   You can refresh your memories here if you like.

    Back in June, Anton Stralman was dealt to Calgary along with career AHLer Colin Stuart for a 2011 2nd round pick and veteran checker Wayne Primeau.    At the time, many questioned the deal as Stralman was viewed to be a promising defender who had not yet found his stride in North America.

    As it turns out, the Leafs may have got the better of the deal.   That second round pick ultimately provided the Leafs the necessary ammunition to legitimately boast the threat of an offer sheet for one Phil Kessel (edit: the pick was flipped to Chicago for a 2010 second rounder to complete the necessary package for an offer sheet to be put together).   The perceived threat of such an offer held many other would-be suitors at bay (why trade for Kessel if Burke could just swoop in and offer sheet him once the deal was done?), and paved the way for Toronto to make a deal for the gifted sniper.

    Besides providing the final piece necessary for the Kessel deal to get done, the trade also provided the team with Primeau, a veteran leader for a young team who can win faceoffs, kill penalties, and will in all likelihood sport an ‘A’ on his jersey for most (if not all) of the season.    On a young team, leadership and reliable shutdown play cannot be underestimated. Think of it this way: Primeau was acquired to essentially fill the same locker-room role that Brad May did last season. The upshot is, Primeau can do more for the team on the ice than May. An unheralded move amonst the many others, but a solid one at that.

    As for Calgary, well, one has to wonder what the reaction will be to this deal out West.   Essentially, the Flames traded a 2nd round pick and a veteran checker for a 3rd round pick (Stuart has been subsequently waived).    Perhaps Stralman just simply did not fit into the Flames’ scheme, or perhaps the Flames saw the same thing the Maple Leafs did:  a kid whose game was not yet where his finite skills would dictate it should be, who would likely need to be shipped between the NHL and AHL at various points in the season, which would result in his exposure to the waiver wire.

    For Columbus, the deal makes a lot of sense.   The Jackets just sent their top pick, offensive defenseman John Moore, to the OHL after determining he would benefit from a year of seasoning in the Junior ranks before embarking on an NHL career.   Columbus does not exactly have a lot of defensive depth, and is lacking in defenders with a right-handed shot (defensive-zone specialist Mike Commodore is the only one), so a third round pick is not a hefty sacrifice to fill that void.

    Hollweg

    Having jettisoned Dan Carcillo to Philadelphia last season, and having lost Brian McGratton to Calgary in free agency, the Phoenix Coyotes suddenly found themselves with a lineup that was lacking not only an enforcer, but also any semblance of toughness up front outside of top scoring threat Shane Doan.   So they did what any organization would do in that situation — they offered a tryout contract to Ryan Hollweg.

    Some will be quick to point out that Hollweg has a greater reputation as a cheapshot artist than an enforcer, an assertion which is not entirely unfounded. It should be noted, however, that all of the organization wrangling in Phoenix has severely crippled the team’s abilities to make many offseason moves. By the time they were able to focus on signing a player to fill the enforcer role, Hollweg was basically the best of what was left (Andrew Peters went to NJ, and the next most-notable enforcers remaining on the FA market are Aaron Downey and Scott Parker … ‘nough said).

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