We all knew Brian Burke wouldn't wait for the deadline. I'm amazed it took as long as it did. But now the deal has happened. Let's analyze this amazing deal until we find a minor problem the media can blow up into a "fire Brian Burke and Ron Wilson" campaign.
To Toronto: Joffrey Lupul, Jake Gardiner and a conditional fourth-round pick.
To Anaheim: Francois Beauchemin (seriously, that's it!).
Let's see if it works from Anaheim's perspective. They get an outstanding defenceman in Beauchemin. Ever since he left, the Ducks have struggled on defence. However, to get him they had to give up a top defensive prospect in Gardiner. He could be the best player in this deal in a few years, so this could get ugly.
Still, they get their salary dump in Lupul, so it seems to even things out a little bit. As for the conditional pick, if Lupul is on the Leafs roster for enough games, they get a fourth-rounder, if not they get a sixth-rounder. So that is not something that will weigh heavily into the deal.
This is a masterpiece from Toronto's perspective. First of all, all they gave up is Beauchemin. But a defenceman had to be moved in order to accommodate Keith Aulie who is definitely ready to play in the NHL.
Secondly, they got that salary dump in Lupul. Since their forwards are so bad, he will play a ton of games for the Leafs, thus getting that fourth-round pick. And if not, then the forward group would have significantly improved, and I'm not complaining.
The only problem is his $4.25 million cap hit. If he can find his scoring touch and score around 25 goals while playing defence, this will work; otherwise, he is the second coming of Jason Blake.
But the centrepiece of this trade is Gardiner, an unbelievable defensive prospect. He will most likely be the best player in this trade a few years from now. As it is, the team that gets the best player is often considered the winner (the Kessel trade not withstanding), so this could be huge.
Furthermore, it lowers the cost of the defence significantly and gets it down to around $18 million to maybe even $15 million for the long term. People compare him to Cam Fowler—we can only dream.
In conclusion, I would like to thank Brian Burke for this deal. Sure, they took a bad contract, but hey, you have to give something to get something. And as it is, the Leafs have enough deep pockets, they can bury him in the minors if necessary like they did to Jeff Finger.
The absolute best part is that Burke is not done yet. He will continue to make trades, and, in fact, seems to be close to a trade right now.
The rumour was that a second deal would be announced yesterday, but that did not come to fruition. However, you know that means he's close. We wait with bated breath.