Brian Burke and Darryl Sutter took what was suppose to be a regular Sunday with 6 NHL games including the rematch of the Stanley Cup Finals and gave hockey fans a lot more to talk about. Burke and Sutter both made 2 significant trades to shake up their rosters.
The day started off with Toronto sending Ian White, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers and Matt Stajan to Calgary for Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom and Keith Aulie. Toronto followed that trade up with sending Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala to Anaheim form J.S. Giguere. To end the night Calgary traded Ollie Jokinen and Brandon Prust to New York for Chris Higgins and Ales Kotalik.
Toronto gets an All-Star defenceman to build their defense core around and frees up several roster spots to get more playing time for their young stars. A change of scenery may get Phaneuf’s game back on track, expect a big push from him as he tries to impress his new boss and the fans in Toronto. Giguere is no secret to Burke; having played for him in Anaheim. Giguere will provide veteran leadership in net and help to develop Jonas Gustavsson into a solid NHL starter. Giguere and Gustavsson will likely spilt the remaining games 50-50.
Calgary used their depth in defense to acquire the much needed secondary scoring. With 6 new faces coming into the dressing room Calgary’s biggest obstacle will be team chemistry. Will they be able to gel as a team and make a long playoff run? That is the big question considering how much they gave up. Stajan has a chance to come in and be the #1 center with the departure of Jokinen and could see a big increase in his production. Kotalik gives the Flames the scoring winger they lost when Mike Cammalleri signed with Montreal. Hagman, Mayers and Higgins will take turns on the second line until someone steps up and provides secondary scoring on a regular basis. White is only 1 year older then Phaneuf but is outscoring Dion by 4 points this season. The addition of White doesn’t leave any holes in the Flames defence and gives the Flames a solid top 4.
Overall both Toronto and Calgary needed to shake up their line-ups and both teams made moves today that addressed their needs. Burke continues to add strong young pieces as he rebuilds the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sutter is hoping these moves get the Flames back on track and only time will tell.