'Trader Cliff' a sly 'Silver Fox'

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

They didn't call him Trader Cliff or The Silver Fox for nothing. Cliff Fletcher, pegged as the choice to run the Maple Leafs for the rest of this season, was a man of action during six years at the helm, 1991-97, even if some of his deals didn't work out:

CLIFF'S BEST

1991

THE DEAL: G Grant Fuhr, F Glenn Anderson and F Craig Berube from Edmonton for G Peter Ing, D Luke Richardson, F Vince Damphousse and F Scott Thornton.

THE SKINNY: Fletcher's opening gambit to shake up the Leafs delivered the No. 1 goalie the Leafs had lacked (he later flipped Fuhr to Buffalo for Dave Andreychuk) and a scorer in Anderson. All the departed Leafs were replaceable, though Damphousse's offence was missed.

1992

THE DEAL: G Rick Wamsley, D, Jamie Macoun, D Ric Nattress, F Kent Manderville, F Doug Gilmour from Calgary for G Jeff Reese, D Michel Petit, D Alex Godynyuk, F Gary Leeman and F Craig Berube.

THE SKINNY: Record 10-player deal delivered a 100-point future captain and sparkplug of two long playoff runs, plus two linchpin defencemen and a strong back-up goalie for Felix Potvin. Still unmatched in the NHL as a multi-player swap 15 years later.

1993

THE DEAL: G Daren Puppa, F Dave Andreychuk and a first round pick (D Kenny Jonsson) from Buffalo for G Grant Fuhr and a sixth-round pick.

THE SKINNY: Leafs had Potvin, thus could shed Fuhr; Andreychuk scored 50 and Jonsson became one of the few post-expansion defencemen the Leafs developed.

1994

THE DEAL: D Garth Butcher, F Mats Sundin, F Todd Warriner and a first round pick (traded to Washington, who took D Nolan Baumgartner) to Quebec for D Sylvain Lefebvre, LW Wendel Clark, F Landon Wilson and a first-round pick (F Jeffrey Kielty).

THE SKINNY: When the Clark furor died down, Fletcher had given the Leafs the franchise scoring leader and Gilmour's successor as captain. Wilson and the pick did not return to haunt the Leafs.

1995

THE DEAL: F Tie Domi from Winnipeg for F Mike Eastwood and a third-round pick (Brad Isbister).

THE SKINNY: Domi returned to the Leafs to become their premier enforcer for the next decade, mostly allowing Sundin to operate freely.

1997

THE DEAL: D Jason Smith, F Alyn McCauley and F Steve Sullivan from New Jersey for D Dave Ellett, F Doug Gilmour and a third-round pick.

THe SKINNY: Nice haul for Gilmour, but Pat Quinn later let all get away for almost no return.

CLIFF'S WORST

1992

THE DEAL: Obtained the Islanders' first-round (Brandon Convery) and second-round picks (traded to Washington/G Jim Carey) for Toronto's first pick (Isles chose D Darius Kasparaitis).

THE SKINNY: Convery was a bust and the Leafs missed out on getting a defenceman with attitude.

1994

THE DEAL: Signed F Mike Craig as a free agent, lost F Peter Zezel and F Grant Marshall to Dallas as compensation.

THE SKINNY: Craig never blossomed as a scorer, while Zezel was a significant loss.

1996

THE DEAL: D Mathieu Schneider, D D.J. Smith, F Wendel Clark from the Islanders for D Kenny Jonsson, F Darby Hendrickson, F Sean Haggerty and a first-round pick (Roberto Luongo).

THE SKINNY: Ownership-influenced deal to bring home a banged-up Clark cost a front-line defenceman and pick.


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