Early in his Monday night media conference call, Leafs General Manager Brian Burke said, "I like to get out in front of the trade deadline, set my prices, and when I get my price, I want to make that deal rather than get into the stampede around the deadline."
It would appear that he is not kidding.
With two weeks still remaining before the NHL trade deadline, Brian Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs have made their second trade in just six days.
The Leafs have sent forward Kris Versteeg to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for the Flyers' first and third round picks in the upcoming 2011 NHL entry draft.
"This was the best offer we had," Burke said, phoning in from Boston. "It met our criteria. It wasn't ideal because our ideal criteria, as you all know, would have been to get a player who can play right now or a player who is closer. But the package of picks was something we felt we had to take at this point. We did not feel that would be there on the 28th."
Versteeg registered 14 goals and 35 points in his 53 games as a Maple Leaf this season.
"I think Kris Versteeg is a real good hockey player and a good guy, and I think that he's going to have an impact with the Philadelhpia Flyers," Burke said of Versteeg. "I wish him well."
The Leafs had previously acquired Versteeg from the Chicago Blackhawks on June 30th, 2010 in a five-player deal.
"You look at what [Versteeg] contributed with Chicago, he wasn't having the same impact on our group, and in my mind the chance to move him was now, to a team that had a better forward group."
The Philadelphia Flyers currently sit atop the eastern conference with 77 points, and sit second place in the entire NHL behind only the Vancouver Canucks.
Just six days prior to this most recent trade, the Leafs acquired forward Joffrey Lupul
in a deal that saw Francois Beauchemin head to the Anaheim Ducks.
"That was the sequence. Once we were able to add Joffrey Lupul
, we think he can provide some of the offence Kris has been providing, and that allowed this deal to go forward."
"We're happy with both trades. We traded two guys who didn't want a trade. Two guys who were good players and quality people," Burke said of Beauchemin and Versteeg. "You want quality, you've got to give up quality."
Just as the ink was drying on the deal to acquire the two picks from Philadelphia, Burke announced that he wasn't done yet.
"The third round pick has already been offered to another team, and is in play," said Burke. "We are going to try and add a player. We have not conceded the last playoff spot, nor will we. If we can add, we're going to."
When asked if the trade that could involve the Flyers' third round pick would also involve a forward coming back, Burke replied with a straight-forward, "Yes."
"Not saying we wouldn't move the first as well," added Burke, "but the third has already been put into a deal. My sense right now is it might not happen…but it's in play."
In regards to any other future deals Toronto might have in its plans, the topic of Leafs defenceman Tomas Kaberle arose once again.
"The agent here has asked for complete secrecy and silence on all the dealings involving Tomas Kaberle," Burke told reporters. "The player has respected that, the agent has respected that, and we're certainly going to respect that."
In regards to speculation the Leafs would move one of their goaltenders, specifically J.S. Giguere, Burke announced that Marlies goalie Jussi Rynnas
has suffered a broken finger. Compounded with the recent health problems of fellow backstop Jonas Gustavsson
, any deal involving a Leafs goaltender would appear to be less likely at this point.
As for the immediate future, with a roster spot in need of filling after Versteeg was dealt, forward Christian Hanson has been recalled from the AHL's Toronto Marlies. In 39 career NHL games, three of which were this season, Hanson has registered three goals and nine points.