Breaking Down François Beauchemin Trade

Haven’t been able to do one of these in a LONG time for the Leafs. Let me just say that I am SCREWED. Two years ago recall I took little TSM to a Leafs game, his first. Of course he got a jersey. His choice? François Beauchemin. Today Brian Burke traded him. Of course, the first thing he said when he got home from school today was



Here we go:

“Judged on pedigree alone, Burke scored a solid win with the trade because both Lupul and Gardiner were first-round picks in the NHL entry draft. However, Ducks GM Bob Murray got what he wanted, too, which was a steady veteran to help his young defence corps in a playoff push and some relief on his payroll by getting Burke to take Lupul’s contract.”

That from David Shoalts

“Joffrey Lupul knows he has something to prove.
And given Brian Burke’s tenure with Toronto Maple Leafs to date, the general manager must feel the same way.
Burke once again took a gamble in a major midseason trade Wednesday, dealing dependable but overworked defenceman François Beauchemin to his friend and former assistant GM, Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks.”

So says James Mirtle

“The deal was pure Brian Burke, the Leafs GM who likes to deal well in advance of the trade deadline. He did so in acquiring Dion Phaneuf and J-S Giguere last year and did it again with Lupul.”

Courtesy Kevin McGran

Jake Gardiner has already got Blue and White disease:

Daniel Girard tells us that The newest Leafs prospect wasted little time jumping on the bandwagon.

Defenceman Jake Gardiner of the University of Wisconsin said he’s not only “excited” to be a part of one of the NHL’s most historic franchises but also believes that the Leafs still have a shot at making the post-season this year.

“You know, they’re not out of a playoff run either,” Gardiner said in a telephone interview Wednesday night after a Badgers practice. “It’s a team that’s got a lot of talent and the coaching is awesome, so they’re going to hopefully make a run at the end.”

One of the best of the day comes from Damien Cox:

“The Maple Leafs, torn between trying to bridge an eight-point gap separating them from this spring’s playoffs and finding a formula to one day become a champion, chose the ill-defined future. All that it might be.

This is classic Toronto, circa 2011, a big market city dressed in beggar’s clothes for all sports, the civic pride-numbing result of poor management, bad decisions, recalcitrant athletes and constricted choices.”

I don’t know about you, but I am good with that choice. I am psyched that we didn’t deal one of our future picks today.

“But don’t be fooled. Moving defenceman Francois Beauchemin to the Anaheim Ducks was a transaction that revolved around University of Wisconsin defenceman Jake Gardiner. Gardiner is a young man who might be an NHL player one day, primarily because he already skates like an NHL player — Brett Hedican-like in some minds.

This is a move to build a better future, not a better now. This is a move that adds Gardiner to a Leaf blueline depth chart that already includes Keith Aulie — he’ll be recalled on Thursday to replace Beauchemin — and other future maybes like Jesse Blacker, Juraj Mikus, Simon Gysbers, Korbinian Holzer and Barron Smith, son of Steve.”

Again, I have no problem with that. Hell, I support it.

“This is the Leaf plan: find different ways to get young talent, other than finishing dead last for three seasons or more.”

Or at least in years when they don’t have their first pick right?

While I don’t agree, Bruce Arthur does the most unusual thing for this town, writing a fair and balanced article yet negative tone about the good ship Maple Leaf:

“Brian Burke is in charge of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he is having a devil of a time getting his hands on the reins in a way that will get the operation pointed in the right direction. And he is trying to do it while straddling those two horses at once. Yesterday’s trade of defenceman François Beauchemin for winger Joffrey Lupul, defensive prospect Jake Gardiner, and a conditional draft pick was the latest example. It wasn’t tanking, but it wasn’t a clear win-now move, either. It was, as always, somewhere in between.”

The Leafs are in no man’s land. It is an odd position to be in. Ideally you’d like them to tank, finish dead last to at the very least have a happy ending to this most painful campaign. With no pick, well, that just isn’t possible. Burke, from my seat has started to do what he should do, throw bodies overboard. This, I hope isn’t the final, but rather nothing more than the opening pitch.

“But at some point, doesn’t it seem like you have to pick a horse and ride it? If the Leafs were rebuilding without worrying about being competitive — impossible, I know, in the world of MLSE ticket prices — then a Beauchemin trade wouldn’t necessarily bring back an injury-damaged 27-year-old who makes US$4.25-million in each of the two seasons after this one.

Well, unless Burke plans to trade Lupul for Chris Pronger, which is about one more occurrence from being declared an NHL tradition. But that’s not happening, of course, so another path must be carved out.”

One step at a time. Addition by subtraction. In an different uncapped NHL things would have been different. It is possible that Lupul could be close with Jeff Finger next year. MLSE has lots of money. They don’t have a cap space advantage though. Acquire a guy who is a gamble. If it doesn’t work, bury his salary in the minors. Where’s the problem?

“Still, Burke has been steadfast in his belief — which he has said is not fueled by the money-counters who run the company — that he doesn’t need to choose a horse. He believes he can be Detroit. So far, he has built the city, not the hockey team.

And without a first-rounder, there is no incentive for Toronto not to win, but without a serious team — and recent hot streak or not, raise your hand if you believe the Leafs are going to jump from 12th to eighth place with 28 games to go — it is hard to move the needle now without sacrificing the future.”

The Detroit line is brilliant. Arthur should win an award.

“When you consider Burke’s work in Toronto, the striking part is not so much that he is impatient as it is that he has been wrong. He has overestimated player after player, and his team more than once. He’s just whiffed.

Maybe he can do it, though, if he tries enough times. Maybe he can pull the stagecoach back onto the right path. So he pans for gold with Lupul, and hopes for a strike with Gardiner, and straddles two worlds. And the reins keep flapping, out of his reach.”

I love the article by Arthur. I don’t agree with it, but at least it’s balanced and fair. He isn’t hiding how he feels. Has he been wrong on very player? No. This to me is the first sign that Burke, like other successful GM’s around their leagues are the ones who pull the plug on a mistake that they made. Getting rid of Beachemin is an admission of sorts. It’s a start. It says, I am willing to trade one of ‘my guys’. It also tells me that he clearly understands the length of the road ahead and isn’t aiming for the quick fix. Me, I am hopeful. I respect Arthur’s position, but disagree with it.

Michael Traikos has a good column on the deal too:

“But the story today is about hope. One player gets a fresh start and one team gets a fresh face. Tomorrow, it might be the same old story that everyone in Toronto is growing used to.”

The view from Orange County?:

“Speaking of 2006, that might have been Lupul’s last peaceable season.

He had that four-goal playoff game at Colorado, and he was about to become a team leader. Then Burke traded him to Edmonton for Chris Pronger, a Cup-lifting deal, and Lupul has been traveling like Hillary Clinton ever since: Edmonton to Philadelphia back to Anaheim and now Toronto.

At least Burke and Ron Wilson are extolling Lupul’s goal-scoring capacity, which proves they have long memories.

“He’s worked his butt off to get back in there,” Murray said of Lupul, who at the very least is the best palindrome to play in the NHL since Joel Otto, although I’d have to verify that with the Vancouver Sun’s expert on such things, Elliott Pap.”

So, how good is this Gardner kid?

“Jake is having a very good season for us,” Eaves said. “He’s our third leading point getter on the team and he plays defence, so that’s worth noting. He’s an excellent skater. He sees the ice well in terms of being able to skate the puck and make the first pass to get a team on its way. He’s our shooter on our first power-play unit. What Jake needs most now is to get stronger. He’s a good size (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) but the challenge for him will be to see what he can do when he’s playing against men in the NHL. If he makes it (as an NHLer), I think he’ll be a top four defenceman because of his skating ability and his first pass.”

IF he makes it? Leaf fans may have choked on that line, but Eaves said lots of talented, young prospects have to prove they can handle the biggest hurdle of the pro game.”

More form Bob McKenzie

Over at ESPN, Pierre LeBrun offers up his take:

“What exactly does this transaction signify? In the shorter term, Toronto hopes to have improved its top-six forward group with former 28-goal scorer Lupul. In the long term, the Leafs hope the University of Wisconsin standout Gardiner is a keeper.

In other words, because Toronto doesn’t have its first-round pick in the upcoming entry draft (for the second year in a row), there’s no point in blowing it up and finishing last. So the goal in any move, it would appear, is to improve short-term and long-term all at the same time. Easy, right?”

Perhaps Kevin Allen says it best:

“Both teams got what they wanted in the deal that sent Francois Beachemin back to Anaheim for Joffrey Lupul, Jake Gardiner and a conditional fourth-round pick.”

Our friends over at PPP offered up an early analysis:

“Make no mistake; the Leafs got a lot worse in the short term. Luke Schenn, Dion Phaneuf and Tomas Kaberle already play a lot of minutes. Brett Lebda and Mike Komisarek are going to get a lot more ice time but this deal is about the future. “

So, there you have it.

Let me ask the question again. Has the day of the hockey insider gone bye bye? Another Leafs deal, another one with not a sniff from any of the usual suspects. Nothing, zip, zilch, nadda. Burke said these talks have been going on for 2-3 weeks. Yes we heard Francois Beachemin’s name in trade banter. Not once did we hear the ducks players as potential targets. Not once. Heck, the news of the trade came from an unlikely source, the Ducks press release. Hard to believe that in this information age, there certainly seems to be very little of it available.

Back to my jersey dilemma.



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