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Leafs get Phaneuf, Giguere in day of dealing

 

National Post and Calgary Herald

Published: Sunday, January 31, 2010

 

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs announced two major trades Sunday, acquiring hard-hitting defenceman Dion Phaneuf in a seven-player deal with the Calgary Flames while also adding goaltender J.S. Giguere from the Anaheim Ducks.

 

With the playoffs seemingly out of reach and the team stuck in a tie for last place in the Eastern Conference, Leafs general manager Brian Burke sent forwards Niklas Hagman, Matt Stajan, Jamal Mayers and defenceman Ian White to the Flames for Phaneuf, minor-leaguer Keith Aulie and forward Fredrik Sjostrom.

 

In a second news conference later Sunday, Burke announced the team had also acquired Giguere from Anaheim for goaltender Vesa Toskala and forward Jason Blake.

 

Phaneuf, according to Burke, was the "centrepiece" of the first deal. The 24-year-old, who has 10 goals and 12 assists in 55 games, gives the Leafs another big body on the blue-line and should help out a team that is one of the worst at keeping the puck out of its own net.

 

"My philosophy is build from the blue-line out," said Burke. "I think it's like pitching in baseball. If you don't have good defencemen, you're not going to win it doesn't matter how good your forwards are. And it's been a hallmark of all my teams. I've always tried to build a good defence. That's what we're trying to do here today.

 

"We're adding an elite defenceman and a guy who plays our kind of hockey. This is a guy who likes it crude, who likes it black and blue. And that's how we want to play."

 

Burke added that acquiring Phaneuf, who has four more years remaining on a contract that pays him an average of US$6.5-million annually, does not mean Tomas Kaberle will be moved this season.

 

"Nothing's going to change there," Burke said of Kaberle, who has publicly said he will not waive his no-trade clause. "Let's all agree here that no one's going to ask me that again. We're not going to ask Tomas Kaberle to waive his no-trade."

 

A tearful Phaneuf told the Calgary media Sunday morning that the deal came as a surprise.

 

"Well, it's definitely a shock, but I'm very, very excited about going to Toronto and being a Maple Leaf. It was definitely a shock, but it's part of the business," he said. "I found out this morning. The toughest part is saying goodbye to your buddies and the relationships that you've made. You guys actually found out before me."

 

Sjostrom, 26, had been underachieving with the Flames this season. The former 11th-overall pick has just one goal and five assists in 46 games.

 

Aulie, a 20-year-old defenceman who is six-foot-six and 208 pounds, is expected to join the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies.

 

In trading away wingers Hagman, Stajan and Mayers, the Leafs suddenly find themselves thin up front. Burke said the forward positions would be likely filled by players currently not in the lineup (Rickard Wallin and John Mitchell) as well as with youngsters in the minors (Viktor Stalberg and Christian Hanson).

 

Hagman, whose in his eighth NHL season, was leading the Leafs in goals (20) this season. The 30-year-old will be a member of Team Finland at next month's Olympic Games in Vancouver.

 

Mayers, who has two goals and six assists along with 78 penalty minutes in 44 games, had expressed a desire to be traded earlier this week. The 36-year-old can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

 

Stajan, a second-round pick of the Leafs in 2002, has spent his entire NHL career in Toronto. In six seasons and 445 games with the Leafs, the native of Mississauga, Ont., recorded 87 goals and 136 assists for 223 points.

 

White, meanwhile, led all Leafs defenceman in goals (nine), and was second in average ice-time per game (23:47) and blocked shots (91).

 

The second deal reunites Burke, a former GMof the Ducks, and Giguere, who waived his no-trade clause to come to Toronto.

 

"What I loved about him is I've never had a goalie that works this hard ... I've had lots of goalies and I've had good goalies, but I've never had a goalie that worked as hard as J.S. Giguere," said Burke.

 

Blake, 36, appeared in 56 games this season with the Maple Leafs, collecting 10 goals and 16 assists for 26 points.

 

Toskala, 32, has a 7-12-2 record with one shutout, a 3.66 goals-against average and .874 save percentage in 26 appearances with Toronto this season. He is expected to back up Jonas Hiller, who signed a contract extension with the Ducks on Saturday worth US$18 million over four years, making Giguere expendable.

 

Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/sports/story.html?id=2505913#ixzz0eElkka0z

 

This doesn't bode well for the Habs!!!

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