Saturday, June 23, 2012

To The City of Brotherly Love

It's almost as though Brian Burke has taken a page out of Alex Anthopoulos' book - over the last two days, where there was smoke (Roberto Luongo, Filip Forsberg), there was no fire.

It all started during the first round of the NHL Draft on Friday night when, after the Islanders selected Griffin Reinhart, it was pretty well expected that the Leafs were destined to take Filip Forsberg of Sweden. Instead, Brian Burke selected Morgan Rielly, a smooth-skating, puck-moving defenceman.1 Whether you believe Burke when he says that even if he had the first overall pick he would have taken Rielly (I don't believe him), Rielly seems to be a strong if not conventional choice, and looks like he really wants to be a member of the team.

 (They took another defenceman with their first pick of the second round, Matthew Finn of the Guelph Storm, who dropped out of the first round.)

Of course, that was nowhere near the story of the first round, as the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes made a pretty blockbuster deal, with Jordan Staal joining his brother Eric in Carolina in exchange for Brandon Sutter and the 8th overall pick.

Anyway, the selection of Rielly read to many to be a harbinger for some sort of an upcoming trade of, likely, Jake Gardiner. The biggest targets - once Staal was gone - were, as they have been for weeks, Rick Nash and Roberto Luongo. Alas, no other deals of any real consequence were done this night, and the first round ended without any further craziness.

Then came Saturday. After hearing his name for a good chunk of the season with nothing to show for it, the Leafs suddenly pulled the trigger on a trade for James van Riemsdyk, sending Luke Schenn to Philadelphia to play with his brother Brayden. And other than the fact that they traded a Canadian for an American - which ought to grind Don Cherry's gears - this seems to be a significantly win-win deal.

And yet, Luongo and Nash still remain on the trading block.

Good weekend, Mr. Burke, I'm excited for what's still in store.

1 - Forsberg would actually fall to Washington at 11, who, I'm sure, were more than happy to take him.

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