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The Trade Deadline Blog 2008

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

8:50 p.m. - At the end of the day, Interim GM Cliff Fletcher felt that he fulfilled Plan B.  It's been no secret that his hands were tied by the 'no-trade' clauses, but he managed to move three players and gain four draft picks - three for 2008 and one for 2009.

What I found most interesting was a promise - no wait - a guarantee that the Toronto Maple Leafs will be a different club come opening face-off in October 2008.  The trading, buying out, and waiving of players is still an option according to Fletcher.

If you don't follow the Toronto Marlies, the Leafs minor affiliate, you might want to start.  Fletcher said we'll be seeing more Marlies in the Leafs line-up.  The young prospects already in the system will get a shot to make good on their big break.  Pssst...Marlies hockey ain't that bad to watch either.  They have a record of 37-14-1-4, and their 79 points is good enough for first in the North Division with the second team sitting 13 points behind!!!  Toronto may not get a Stanley Cup this year, but a Calder Cup parade could be on it's way.

Leaf fans, today was just the beginning of change.  It may be a long road ahead, but you've got to start walking at some point and the Leafs have done just that.  It's time to get down to business.

5:18 p.m. - Kris Newbury and Jeremy Williams have been recalled from the Marlies.

4: 52 p.m. - For Cliff Fletcher, it was a tough day at the office.

“Lots of dialogue, lots of telephone calls,” Fletcher said.

“The reality of the situation in Maple Leafs world is we weren’t skating in the same arena as some of the other teams.”

Not by a long shot. Hampered by five-no trade clauses and one-trade double-back, the Leafs were only able to move three players, Hal Gill, Wade Belak and Chad Kilger. Gill goes to Pittsburgh, Belak and Kilger are Florida bound. One unnamed player agreed to a deal before last night’s thumping of Ottawa then changed his mind after the 5-0 win.

The total return is a second, a third and two fifth rounders. All but one of the fifth-round choices are for this summer’s draft.

And so while names like Brad Richards and Marian Hossa swap addresses, the Leafs are stuck.

“I didn’t think we could do more,” Fletcher said. “I had a lay of the land. When you deduct the players with no-trade clauses and a couple of players you choose to keep, then you’re narrowing down the possibilities that you might accomplish.”

Five no-trade or no movement clauses sealed the Leafs off from their future but Fletcher vowed change was coming, be it through future trades, the draft or outside methods. Included in that list, is the buy-out.

“The face of the Maple Leafs hockey team will be different than (next season) than it is now,” he promised.

In other words, the message is patience and maybe you’ve heard that before.

4:48 p.m. - Well, 3 Leafs go.  Did I think there would be more...yes. Very interesting what Fletcher said about one of the 5 guys with a no trade had originally said yes to a deal, but after last nights game, changed his mind.  These guys really think they can make the playoffs don’t they?  They are 6 points back, weirder things have happened...geez I almost sound like I am back on the bandwagon...

Thanks to everyone here at Leafs TV and,  but more importantly thanks to you, for looking at this blog today. I had fun...



4:46 p.m. - Cliff Fletcher One-On-One With Andi Petrillo

4:44 p.m. - Cliff Fletcher Post Trade Deadline Press Conference

3:43 p.m. - Akil talking to Leafs Nation Part 2

3:31 p.m. - We are waiting here in the oak-panneled restaurant called the Hot Stove Club for word from Cliff Fletcher.

The Leafs have also moved Chad Kilger to Pittsburgh for a third rounder. The year is to be determined.

There is some talk that another deal is coming. With Fletcher still upstairs, a final deal could be in order

3:21 p.m. - The Maple Leafs have traded Chad Kilger to the Florida Panthers for a 3rd Round Draft Pick.

3:07 p.m. - The Leafs have gotten a second and a fifth round pick for defenceman Hal Gill.

It represents the second deal pulled off by interim GM Cliff Fletcher. The other saw enforcer Wade Belak head to the Florida Panthers for a fifth rounder. That represents a lot of value for Gill.

The Leafs probably didn’t want to deal Gill, his salary was palatable and he paired pretty neatly with defenceman Ian White. That said, he could be soft covering players around the crease, more often than not because of a surplus of available options.

I am writing from the Hot Stove Lounge, the temporary media centre at Air Canada Centre by virtue of the Spice Girls concert in the lower bowl.

The Girls put on a big show, security is swarming downstairs and boxes and crates littler the hallways. It is a true hot stove, lots of hockey talk and when a trade is announced on television, the print and internet hacks run to their terminals for their live blogs.

2:52 p.m. - Sportsnet is reporting that the Maple Leafs have traded Hal Gill to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 2nd and 5th Round Draft pick.

2:48 p.m. - Wade Belak talks to Leafs TV

2:21 p.m. - Its been a busy couple of hours trying to track down all the rumours….all seems quiet right now, but LOTS can happen in the final minutes….we don’t have to rely on a fax machine nowadays do we??

Belak to the Panthers is it so far, gotta think that Cliff wants to do more, however so do all the other GM’s.  As we get to the final minutes, the teams who REALLY want to make a run, could feel some pressure. 

Hey Ottawa, are you hoping the Marty Lapointe plays net?  There is a rumour around today that Paddock may be on his way out.  All that talent, but so far, nothing to show for it.

TSN has been my choice today.  They do it up good. We have had fun as well, and were real quick to do a phoner with Belak.  Wade has been a tremendous friend to Leafs TV with is ‘Wade a Minute’ features with Jody Vance, we will miss him! Jamie Arnold of Leafs TV tracked him down moments after the deal.  Remember to keep an eye on Leafs TV as we will react to any news the Leafs make today as well we will carry Interim General Manager Cliff Fletcher’s news conference after 3 p.m. 

Did you see Duke the Dog and Peter Puck on Leafs TV…..that is one thing we have over ALL the other networks…..MASCOTS!   Rumour is Carlton may finally make an appearance shortly.  Gonna go see if he is here yet.

1:45 p.m. - It's 1:45 and various media outlets are starting to set up at the Hot Stove Lounge at Air Canada Centre. Interim General Manager Cliff Fletcher will address the crowd at 3 p.m. when the trade deadline ends.

Right now he only has one trade to speak of - Wade Belak to the Florida Panthers for a 5th round draft.  It may just be a quiet day for the Toronto media.

1:38 p.m. - The Vancouver Canucks have traded Matt Cooke to the Washington Capitals for Matt Pettinger.

1:31 p.m. - I don’t get what’s going on during a deadline day.

So far on TSN, there have been two General Managers interviewed, first Ken Holland, the GM of the Detroit Red Wings and Brian Burke of the Anaheim Ducks.

Shouldn’t these guys be talking on the phone, juggling calls, screaming at agents.

No. They’re on television, chewing the fat, contemplating the trade market.

1:16 p.m. - Columbus trades Sergei Federov to the Washington Capitals for Ted Ruth.

1:04 p.m. - The Columbus Blue Jackets have traded Adam Foote to the Colorado Avalanche for a conditional first round draft pick. Also, the Chicago Blackhawks have traded Martin Lapointe to the Ottawa Senators for a 6th Round Draft Pick.

12:56 p.m.- Cliff Fletcher has pulled off some of the bigger trades in NHL history.

He landed Doug Gilmour for Calgary and Philadelphia, traded Wendel Clark and brought him back. One of the Gilmour deals involved 10 players.

Today, he is playing a losing hand.

There are three players he cannot trade because of the player’s contractual rights: Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker and Tomas Kaberle.

Pavel Kubina is rumoured to be willing to consider a trade, despite public comments to the contrary. Take that for what you will. Same for Bryan McCabe.

For Fletcher, today marks his final day at the trade deadline, the final two hours as circusmaster.

To move Kubina or McCabe, he must satisfy the few clubs who are suitors for those players, himself, and most importantly, the players themselves.

If he can’t do that, he faces the prospect of moving the young players he wants, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Nik Antropov, Alex Steen. That’s a no-go.

So Fletcher has to pick at the margins. He has already shed Wade Belak. Chad Kilger is a useful forechecker who would help a playoff team.

Other than that, Fletcher’s hands are tied.

That’s no way to go out. But I’ll tell you something else,  if he pulls something out, he’ll never have to buy dinner again in this town.

12:54 p.m. - is reporting that the Senators are offering Chris Kelly or Antoine Vermet along with Christoph Schubert and Nick Foligno to Atlanta for Marian Hossa and Kari Lehtonen...

12:28 p.m. - The Montreal Canadiens have traded Christobal Huet to the Washington Capitals for a 2nd Round Draft Pick. Chicago trades Tuomo Ruutu to Carolina for Andrew Ladd. Colorado Karlis Skrastins and a 3rd Round pick to Florida for  Ruslan Salei.

12:28 p.m. - Wade Belak is no longer a Toronto Maple Leaf.  He may not have scored a lot of goals, and in fact, his goal on December 4th 2007 against the Nashville Predators ended a 143 game goaless drought. 

But the chants of 'Belak, Belak,' can still be heard echoing off the walls at Air Canada Centre.  Wade Belak became a celebrity in Toronto in his own right.  He always treated his teammates, coaches, media, and more importantly, the fans with the ultimate respect. 

The 6'5, 221pound versatile player never hesitated to defend his teammates on the ice.  In seven years as a Toronto Maple Leaf, Belak has engaged in 82 fights.  Without getting into the debate of whether fighting in the NHL is right or wrong, one fact that cannot be disputed, is that Wade Belak was loved by the fans who bleed blue and white, because he literally did so in the name of pride.

Wade Belak, thank you for the memories on the ice where you displayed your toughness.  Even more so, thank you for sharing your humourous side on Leafs TV.  Good Luck

12:24 p.m. - Akil  talks to Leafs Nation

12:23 p.m. - The Leafs announced the Wade Belak trade.

12:00 p.m. - TSN is reporting that the Montreal Canadiens have traded Christobal Huet to the Washington Capitals for a 2008 2nd round draft pick.  Sportsnet is reporting that Chicago has traded Tuomo Ruutu to the Hurricanes for Andrew Ladd.

11:55 a.m. - The Brad Richards trade instantly becomes the most intriguing of the day.

Yes, the Dallas Stars bulk up at forward with Richards who, when he is on his game, is one of the best two-way forwards. He has slumped noticeably this year.

The Lightning get Mike Smith, a player the Lightning feel can finally address their goaltending needs, an honest player in Jeff Halpern and Jussi Jokinen, a forward with a little upside. I like the deal for the Lightning. Richards had to go with defenceman Dan Boyle re-signed. This will be a better deal for the Lightning.

11:38 a.m. - Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist are headed to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Mike Smith, Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Halpern TSN is reporting.

11:26 a.m. - The Buffalo Sabres trade Brian Campbell to the San Jose Sharks for Steve Bernier and a first-round pick.

11:17 a.m. It’s Wade Belak.

The Leafs have sent their red-headed enforcer to the Florida Panthers for a fifth-rounder.

The move makes a minor impact on the payroll and might free up things for Kris Newbury.

Belak was enormously popular, never more so than when he fought Cam Janssen after the New Jersey defenceman knocked Tomas Kaberle into senselessness last season.

He was one of the best quotes in the dressing room and his departure will make not a ripple. It is one of the vagaries of the game that a player with his skill set is making a living playing hockey but there will always be call for him.

“I’m happy. I just woke up literally about three minutes ago,” he said from Florida.

11:17 a.m. - Wade Belak has been traded to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a 5th round draft pick in this spring's NHL Entry Draft.

10:45 a.m. - After the 2004-2005 lockout, many of us began to hear the word ‘parity’ for the first time.  First of all, what does it mean? “Equality of rank or status.” 

Thanks in huge part to the salary cap, all 30 teams in the National Hockey League were placed on an equal playing field and given a fair shot at contending for the Stanley Cup. Gone are the hockey dynasties that would reach deep into their pockets to attract the biggest names in the game.  Pre-lockout, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, and New York Rangers, were notorious for this.  However, this tactic did not always guarantee a shot at hockey’s grand prize.  Prior to the lockout the Rangers missed out on the playoffs seven years in a row.  Post-lockout, teams like the Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers suddenly found themselves deep in the postseason. 
That leads us into Trade Deadline activity.  In 1979-80, only three trades were made that included five players.  In 1982-83 only one trade that involved only one player.  Things started to pick up in the early 90’s with trades involving over 30 players.  However, in the last two years trades consistently reached ultimate highs in over two decades with both the 2005-06 and 2006-07 trade deadline days seeing 25 trades with 40 and 44 players being moved respectively.  Why the increase in bodies being moved?  Well, it’s because of that word again, parity.  Every team not only believes but knows it has a legitimate shot at contending for Lord Stanley’s Cup.  At least 23 teams are still in the playoff race come trade deadline day and are not out of it until the final whistle blows. Here are a few examples of how quickly teams find themselves in or out of the playoff hunt.
In the West, the Phoenix Coyotes played to a record of 18-18-1 from October to December.  In the New Year they’ve improved to 13-8-2 finding themselves only three points behind the Nashville Predators for the 8th playoff spot.  After going 4-7-1 in the month of January, the Vancouver Canucks found themselves fighting for the playoffs, and they had to go 6-1-3 in their last 10 games to desperately hold on to the 7th position.

In the East, the Philadelphia Flyers started off strong going 28-17-4 from October to January.  But the month of February was anything but Valentine’s Day for the city of Brotherly Love, as the Flyers went on a ten-game losing streak and narrowly avoided a franchise record 11th consecutive loss by defeating the Buffalo Sabres in a shootout on Monday night. 

They are now tied with the Sabres for the 8th and final playoff spot.  The most nail-biting division in the East is the Southeast Division.  The Carolina Hurricanes, Atlanta Thrashers, and Washington Capitals were most recently separated by one or two points.  Even without Captain Rod Brind’Amour in the lineup, the Hurricanes have kept their playoffs hopes alive by going 6-3-1 in their last 10 games, pulling away from the other two teams
Will Trade Deadline 2008 prove to be as busy as the two years before it?  With just over 20 teams still believing their in the fight, the guess would be Yes.  Parity in the NHL gives new meaning to the saying ‘It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.’   

10:44 a.m. - Coach John Paddock may be in trouble in Ottawa after Monday night’s thumping by the Leafs.

If Bryce Salvador for Cam Janssen is the final trade of the deadline day, I will light myself on fire at my desk.

10:42 a.m. - What’s with Ulmer claiming he sent a blog at 6:04 this morning….he is trying to one-up me, and I don’t believe it…..

Andi Petrillo is a trooper!  Under the weather, and you would never know it!!  McGill on the other hand, he looks and sounds like he has a cold….poor boy, always thought he was soft.  (just kidding Bob).

10:42 a.m. - Interesting feature on Rogers Sportsnet with player agent Brian Lawton playing ‘If I was GM.’ Excellent information.

Some disquieting television: a lingering shot of print guys Pierre LeBrun and Bruce Garrioch looking at their BlackBerries. If there is one thing more annoying than being with someone on a BlackBerry, it’s watching someone using their Blackberry on television.

10:37 a.m. - TSN is reporting that St. Louis has traded Bryce Salvador to the New Jersey Devils for Cam Jannsen.

10:21 a.m. - Got through the first hour of our marathon day… Still no trades.  Could this be the quietest day in league history?  You never know.  How did you like's Mike Ball on Leafs TV? Then I had the camera sit on Latham for a few minutes to get his air time… These internet types do not like the camera! I am not producing for the next couple of hours, but when I get back in - ‘the chair’ - as we call it, I think we will talk to Latham on the air!  Get ready buddy.

Some outlets are reporting that Kyle Wellwood has asked to be traded, and that Kubina MAY waive his no trade clause.  OK, what do you think of this no trade clause?  I am a firm believer there should be only a handful of people who are privledged enough to have one… Mats Sundin is one of them, but some of the others around the league… NICE DEAL.   H

Heard John Ferguson on TSN this morning say he didn’t think he has handcuffed Cliff Fletcher’s ability to make deals.  I like Fergie, but I think it is obvious that some of the players with no trade clauses would be moved if they didn’t… So to me, that is a handcuffing.  Fergie also stated that if he didn’t give the guys a no trade, then some other team would have.  Here is my beef with that – IF a guy wants to stay in a city soooo bad, then why would he sign somewhere else, just because he is given a no trade?  I like what Brian Burke said, he hates them and feels they are coach killers!  I agree.

Looks like Andi and Bob are about to go back on the air…..gonna go watch.

10:19 a.m. - Local outlets are reporting that Kyle Wellwood has asked for a trade. Great, the guys with 20 plus goals who have value don’t want to go, the guys with six goals who would deliver scant returns, wants to go. TSN and Sportsnet are reporting that Pavel Kubina may be interested in waiving his NTC. (Ed Note: This rumour has been disproven.

10:18 a.m. - Peter Forsberg has signed a contract and indicated he doesn’t know whether his wonky right foot will let him play. Somewhere, pundits are venturing that this is a big gamble on, who is doing this again…yes Colorado.

The Flyers have reaquired Vinny Prospal, who needed nearly 200 games in Ottawa to right himself after breaking in with the Flyers. He goes to a team minus Simon Gagne, Joffrey Lupul and Mike Richards due to injuries. Prospal is a classic second or third line guy. He will make a minimal contribution but that’s okay, the Flyers gave up one of a score of young defencemen, Alexandre Picard, to get him.

6:59 – Stuff may be starting to happen – anyway, the Lightning sign Dan Boyle, so you can probably scratch his name off the trade list.  Six-year – $40 mill!  Got a text alert last night from TSN saying that TSN has learned that Kings D Rob Blake has not waived his no trade clause.

Ok, I gotta get ready to produce the show at 9am… I will be checking in throughout the day.  Let me leave you with this… Do you remember the 89 Draft and the Leafs having three first round choices?…. Two of those were obviously obtained in a trade…..for Ken Wregget….that’s right the Leafs got two first rounders from Philly for Ken Wregget!  Unfortunately selecting Rob Pearson and Steve Bancroft with those picks didn’t pan out.

 6:52 a.m. – Man I can’t wait to get this day started.  We are doing seven hours of live programming today on Leafs TV, all streamed live on 

Andi Petrillo and Bob McGill are going to be at the ACC.  Well at least Andi is scheduled to be, but she is under the weather. 

The flu is making its way through our building now!  We have a backup plan if Andi is too sick to go.  John Bartlett will be at Ricoh if the Marlies are involved with any deals.  Melissa Hamilton will be here at studio 307 checking in with the staff as we go about our day. 

Please make sure you watch for Latham, he doesn’t want to be on TV… I think maybe our first hit should be with him!  Joe Bowen and Paul Hendrick will be in Florida.  We are using the web technology to get their information back to us today, so that is exciting!  Finally, Akil is going to be on the streets of Toronto getting the pulse of the fans.  If you haven’t seen any of Akil’s work either on Leafs TV or, you will want to check him out – great energy, great character!

Ok, on the drive in this morning The Fan is reporting that Kubina may indeed waive his no trade – apparently the Sharks are interested.  One trade last night in the NHL saw Prospal head to Philly for Alexandre Picard and a conditional draft pick.  A signing of note – the Tampa Bay Lightning … Hang on… Phone is ringing already….

6:04 a.m.

The wait is down to hours.

The NHL trade deadline arrives today at 3 p.m. although a backlog of deals usually pushes final word to the supper hour.

Having been rebuffed by Mats Sundin and Darcy Tucker who refused to waive no-trade clauses, Bryan McCabe and perhaps Tomas Kaberle and Pavel Kubina appear slightly more open to a change of scenery, but still say they prefer to stay in Toronto.

All three must agree to waive their contractual vetoes before any deal can be done. The most likely is McCabe who has said he would consider any deal brought to him though he insists he still wants to play in Toronto.

Assuming no one changes their mind, that leaves the next level of players, Nik Antropov, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Hal Gill up for barter. The Leafs would probably also like to clear Andrew Raycroft’s salary from the books but that seems unlikely.

We will fan out to give you the latest word. Information will be classified either as ‘Rumour’, ‘Done Deal’ or ‘Entry’ so you will know what you are getting at a glance.

Expect word from Leafs host Andi Petrillo who is working out of the Hot Stove Lounge at Air Canada Centre along with the rest of the Toronto media brigade. Leafs TV senior producer Chris Clarke and anyone who drops by with something to add will be get time on the blog as well.

So tune in all day Tuesday for all the news that’s fit to blog. Will Cliff Fletcher be able to land prospects or draft choices or will the rebuilding process be spiked by the no trade-clauses? It’s time, finally,  to find out.

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