|Dion Phaneuf is the centrepiece of a trade between the Calgary Flames and the Toronto Maple Leafs. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)
Bitter with his team’s miserable mediocrity, Brian Burke has kicked off his blue-and-white housecleaning with a blockbuster.
The Maple Leafs general manager pulled off a seven-player blockbuster with the Calgary Flames today, the centrepiece being hard-shooting defenceman Dion Phaneuf.
The Leafs also were on the verge of acquiring Anaheim Ducks goalie J-S Giguere as part of a deal that reportedly would include Vesa Toskala heading to the west coast. That deal had not been concluded at the time of Burke’s 11:30 a.m. press conference however.
As for the deal with Calgary, the Flames have shipped Phaneuf, forward Fredrik Sjostrom, and defenceman Keith Aulie to the Leafs in exchange for forwards Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers and defenceman Ian White.
“We thank the guys going the other way for their service but obviously the main component here is Phaneuf,” Buke said during a hastily-called press conference this morning at the Air Canada Centre. “He is an elite player in this league, he’s got a cannon of a shot and he’s a real warrior. He plays with an edge. I like that."
The Flames and Leafs had been discussing the components of the deal for more than a week but the pieces did not fall into place until after Toronto’s humiliating 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Saturday, a game in which the Leafs blew a 3-0 lead.
Of the four players heading to Calgary, only Hagman is under contract for next season.
Phaneuf, meanwhile, has a salary cap hit of $6.5 million for the next four seasons.
“If you look at the past four months, we have acquired a pair of young elite players in Phaneuf and Phil Kessel,” Burke said.
Phaneuf has two goals over his last three games, giving him 10 goals and 12 assists this season.
Sjostrom has played 46 games with one goal and five assists for Calgary this season. Aulie was drafted in the fourth round, 116th overall of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and has been playing with the Abbotsford Heat of the AHL.
Hagman has 20 goals and 13 assists, while Stajan has 16 goals and 25 assists, each over 55 games this season.
Mayers had expressed interest in being traded earlier in January. He had two goals, six assists and 78 penalty minutes over his 44 games with the Maple Leafs this season. White had nine goals, 17 assists and a plus-1 rating over his 56 games.