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Greg Wyshynski

The Burke Effect? Leafs dump busts for Lee Stempniak

Greg Wyshynski
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So simply having Brian Burke on a flight to Toronto has caused the Leafs to make a shrewd trade with the St. Louis Blues that could border on a fleecing. From the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

The Blues traded winger Lee Stempniak to the Toronto Maple Leafs today for defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo and center Alex Steen. Steen has two goals and two assists in 20 games this season. Colaiacovo had one assist and a minus-2 rating in 10 games. Stempniak, 25, had three goals and 10 assists for 13 points, tied for fourth-highest total on the Blues.

As TSN points out, Colaiacovo and Steen are "two former draft picks that didn't live up to their first-round billing." No kidding. Obviously, the Blues believe they haven't lost enough games to injury yet with this Colaiacovo move. The Blues need defense; maybe they should have opted for one that isn't on Penner Watch.

In Stempniak, the Leafs get a player who is two seasons removed from a 27-25-52 season. Not the best season, but he'll have a shot on second-line wing. He's signed through 2011 ($1.5 million, $2.5 million, $3.5 million), which is an interesting investment for a team that has been trying to shed multi-year deals. Then again, they were able to dump a couple: Colaiacovo is a UFA in 2011 and Steen is RFA in the same year.

Two Line Pass gives the win to the Toronto Maple Leafs on this deal:

It was also a good move by Toronto to get Stempniak, who has 13 points in 14 games this year and 12 in his last seven, for almost nothing. St. Louis made the deal, I suspect, simply because it needed warm bodies to fill out the lineup every night. There's no other reason to trade a player as good as Stempniak, who scored 27-25-52 two years ago and is playing at almost a point-a-game pace. The move also clears up about half a million in cap space for the Leafs.

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