With its typically confusing mix of excitement, frustration and dissapointment, the NHL trade deadline has come and gone. Â For better or for worse, the Toronto team that will hit the ice tonight against the Florida Panthers will have to be the one that ends this franchise’s absence from the NHL playoffs. Â Taking into account the tantalizing possibilities of player acquisitions (and departures) that flitted through the collective mind of Leafs Nation over the last few months, it is at first a bit surprising to realize that Burke has made no significant changes to the roster this year (apart from the early, calculated decision to acquire David Steckel).
But with time and consideration of the considerable expenses that would have gone into any theoretical acquisitions, it should be clear that Burke’s path was a wise one. Â It’s become obvious that Burke hoped to acquire his impact forward without shipping any personnel that are needed for this team’s playoff push. Â This choice was an indication of the GM’s adherence to his long term plan and player valuations. Â He has thrown all his chips in with what he has built over the last few years, rather than rushing to siphon off talent which he has accumulated in an effort to bring in a big fish.
As such, this young team could finish the season on a strong note. Â They could soon emerge from the type of slump that, as it stands, is at a length and level of suckiness that happens to even the best teams in this league. This could grant the playoffs-starved city of Toronto a chance to once again live through the glory of a postseason run. Â Even if such a run ended prematurely, Burke’s actions or lack thereof in terms of roster management this season will be viewed as a wise decision to allow a young, talented club to grow into its own.
Of course, there is the other, darker possibility. Â The team could continue to flounder, fighting to the bitter end but ending up in that awkward, debilitating ninth or tenth position in the conference. Â It would be a whollyÂ disappointingÂ season with troubling suggestions that this team has stagnated in its development. Â This disparate dichotomy of outcomes is not lost upon the Maple Leafs players themselves. Â No longer plagued with worries of impending trades, one must expect a focused, driven effort across the board from hereon out. Â In the end, the outcome of this season will serve as the true evaluation of this trade deadline for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
A recap of yesterday’s Leafs trades and the day as a whole, courtesy of Alec.
As first discovered by our very own Jordan, Lupul is currently wearing a soft cast. How’s that for a TD surprise!
Does Toronto as a city affect a general manager’s decisions?