Not surprisingly, Brian Burke was at the epicenter of things. Burke, the Toronto Maple Leafs' general manager has long said that trades are good for the NHL because they create great interest. Well, he sure did his part in getting tongues wagging Sunday morning, while in the process adding some very important pieces to the Maple Leafs' future.
Here are the deals:
Maple Leafs swap forwards Niklas Hagman, Matt Stajan and Jamal Mayers, plus defenseman Ian White for defensemen Dion Phaneuf and Keith Aulie and forward Fredrik Sjostrom.
Maple Leafs trade goalie Vesa Toskala and forward Jason Blake to Anaheim for goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere.
In Calgary, GM Darryl Sutter, who denied any interest in making a deal last week, grabbed his slumping team's attention in a big way by partnering with Burke on a good, old fashioned blockbuster.
Burke's second trade, with the Anaheim Ducks for goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, has a bigger impact on the Leafs, but solidifies the Ducks' goaltending situation conclusively.
Let's take a closer look at how the trades impact the respective teams.
Toronto Maple Leafs -- Burke loves big, physical defensemen like Phaneuf, who had been the subject of trade rumors in recent weeks and who hadn't meshed especially well with new Flames coach Brent Sutter this season.
Aulie is another big defenseman, 6-foot-6, 208, and has been playing in the AHL this season. He was a player Burke wanted to add to the organization and it wouldn't be a stretch to see Aulie with the Leafs in short order.
"Excellent skater for a big man," Burke said of Aulie, just 20. "This is a guy we coveted and had to work very hard to get him in the deal. We think he's going to be a real good NHL player down the road for a long time."
As for Phaneuf, Burke couldn't have been more effusive in his praise.
"This guy's a warrior. He's got a cannon for a shot. He plays the game hard … I want players who play the game hard because they're hard to play against," he said.
In Giguere, Burke acquired the goaltender he won the Stanley Cup with in 2007 when both were with Anaheim and a player for whom Burke has great respect. Giguere had dropped behind Jonas Hiller as the Ducks' top goalie this season and with Hiller signed to a contract extension this week, Ducks GM Bob Murray couldn't afford to keep both.
This season, Giguere, 32, was 4-8-0 with one shutout, a 3.14 GAA and .900 save percentage in 20 games for the Ducks.
Sjostrom seems to be overlooked everywhere he goes. The former Phoenix Coyotes' top pick in 2001 (No. 11) is a very good defensive player and penalty killer, but he isn't likely to add much in the way of offense.
So, the Leafs cemented their defense in a big way, but they also shipped out a lot of offense, but as Burke said, he isn't done with the makeover of the Maple Leafs either.
"It takes some offense out of our lineup and that's the next question … who replaces that offense we lost today, but it puts a major weapon on the blue line and makes us much more difficult to play (against)."
Calgary Flames -- The big pieces for the Flames are forward Niklas Hagman and defenseman Ian White.
White should take his game to the next level playing alongside players like Jay Bouwmeester and Robyn Regehr. He becomes a restricted free agent after this season and has scored 9 goals and 15 assists in 56 games this season.
Stajan, 26, scored 16 goals and 25 assists in 55 games for the Leafs this season. He already has tied his career high for goals this season. Stajan can become an unrestricted free agent at season's end.
Mayers had asked to be traded out of Toronto as his ice time has dwindled. The 35-year-old veteran had just 2 goals and 6 assists during fourth-line duty.
So, Hagman adds another scoring threat to the Flames' lineup and White will slide right into prime-time minutes. Stajan also has the ability to thrive in Calgary and will be motivated as free agency approaches.
Anaheim Ducks -- Giguere has a Stanley Cup and a Conn Smythe Trophy on his resume and always has been a popular and well-regarded pro. But he also carries a $6 million contract for the remainder of this season and next, which was too much to play for a backup now that Hiller has been signed to an extension.
Toskala, 32, is an unrestricted free agent after the season and has shown the ability to be a capable backup to Hiller. With the Leafs, he was 7-12-2 with a 3.66 goals-against average and .874 save percentage.
In Blake, 36, the Ducks take on a veteran with two more seasons at $4 million left on his contract. He has 10 goals and 16 assists this season. Blake should benefit from a change of scenery and his good speed should mesh well in Anaheim.
"J.S. is as classy and professional as they come," Ducks GM Bob Murray said. "On behalf of the organization, we thank him for his tremendous contributions to the franchise both on and off the ice, not the least of which were two trips to the Stanley Cup Final and one championship. We wish him well in Toronto."