Earlier yesterday, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded D Anton Stralman, F Colin Stuart, and a 7th Round pick in 2012 to the Calgary Flames for Wayne Primeau and a 2nd Round pick in 2011. Brian Burke must have conjured up this trade on his annual offseason trip, whilst he was telling Calgary GM Darryl Sutter a dirty fishing joke (“So I says to her, “Girl, you’re like a Trophy Bass - I don’t know whether to mount you or eat you”). After some thought and sorting through much opinion over on other Leafs boards, this doesn’t seem to be a major trade that will greatly affect both the Flames or the Leafs in the end.
Wait, you’re not part of a progressive Swedish rock band? Then what the hell is “Anton Stralman”?
Granted, this trade doesn’t change the fact that Burke has continued the Leafs trend of trading young players at their proverbial worst value or that Primeau is overpaid by virtue of being injury-prone, old, and lacking any noticeable offensive skill. But the Leafs somewhat decreased the log jam of NHL-calibre defencemen on their roster, while picking up a relatively high draft pick and a veteran leader for the young dressing room (never mind that the Leafs could have brought in a random old geezer spouting off platitudes for practically the same effect).
At this point, I’m sort of ambivalent about this trade. Stralman is still only 23 years old and never really received much of a sustained chance to succeed in the pros. Stralman also had the skills to fit the always valuable offensive defencemen mold deemed so important in hockey, which the Leafs didn’t have an abundance of in their system. But Stralman wasn’t very defensively responsible, nor was he physical. Stralman may as well been Megan Fox promoting an abstinence convention - he didn’t fit Brian Burke’s profile as a player. Unless Stralman was the second-coming of Scott Niedermayer or Nicklas Lidstrom, where superior puck positioning and stick work allows for great two-way play, I guess it’s not altogether surprising Stralman was traded. Really, Stralman was so low on the depth chart, he could duck under dogs. In summary, a salary dump for a draft pick.
Tucking jerseys into my pants make me go faster.
A final thought about this whole trade. Despite the arrival of Jonas Gustavsson and Rickard Wallin (who is pretty much seen as Gustavsson’s confidant to help him ease into the NHL, rather than for any significant on-ice contribution at this point), I have noticed the rapid influx of North American players on the Leafs over Burke’s short tenure as President & GM. While it’s ridiculous to suggest Burke is anti-European, a Leafs team that has greatly benefited from international players throughout their history has slowly, but surely depleted a lot of their European flavour over the past year. I don’t have any theory behind it, but I just thought it’s an intriguing observation to closely monitor over the upcoming season.