Think Leafs GM has it tough?

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:28 PM ET

For all the criticism Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has received over the past two years for surrendering two first-rounders and a second-round pick in the controversial Phil Kessel deal with the Boston Bruins, that pales in comparison to the bold moves made by Flyers counterpart Paul Holmgren involving top-end selections.

Indeed, Holmgren has dealt away the Flyers first-round picks in 2009, 2010 and 2011 in order to bring in players he really wanted namely, defenceman Chris Pronger and forward Kris Versteeg.

For Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, it shows just how committed the organization is to winning.

In his most recent deal, Holmgren surrendered his 2011 first-rounder and third-rounder to the Leafs for Versteeg.

I think it makes a statement, Laviolette said.

It wasnt the type of trade where its a first-round pick and the player is going to be gone. We got ourselves a good young player that fits into the age of the Richards, the Carters, the Girouxs, the Van Riemsdyks, the Carles.

We have a lot of good young players on our team. Good balance, good mix. It makes a statement that were trying to do some things here.

KRIS CROSSED

Laviolette has enjoyed the addition of Versteeg and feels he will play a significant role for the Flyers moving forward.

I think his last game in Ottawa he had nine attempts at the net and five shots, Laviolette said. Hes had lots of opportunities, lots of looks.

Its just a matter of getting to know his teammates, getting to know me, getting to know the system. Its hard to get traded in the middle of the season, especially on this team. There is a feeling-out process.

UNDER THE WEATHER

Just call them The Flu Crew.

Forwards Jeff Carter, Darroll Powe and Daniel Carcillo were all felled by the illness, which apparently has been running through the entire Flyers dressing room. In fact, Holmgren also was under the weather and reportedly was not on hand for the game at the Wells Fargo Center.

SCHENN-SATIONAL

In his first couple of seasons in the NHL, March meant playing out the string for young defenceman Luke Schenn.

Not this year.

And hes loving it.

Its way different, Schenn admitted on Thursday. Its definitely a nice feeling to have.

A different feeling, too.

Before, in my two previous years here, youre playing for personal pride and a spoiler role, which isnt really all that fun this time of year, he said. Its been a lot more fun and exciting being in a race and competing for spots.

The last 25-30 games have been like playoffs for us and now its been even more desperation.

Count on it continuing to be that way down the stretch.


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