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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Alright, I admit it, I had to google Luca Caputi.

Still, for Toronto Maple Leafs' fans, trade deadline day has to be the most wonderful time of the year. At least in the non-playoff era.

It's means the renewal of hope. In the absence of playoff hockey nothing captures my imagination more than those couple times of year where, you just know, Brian Burke is going to make some noise. Trade deadline, draft day, the opening of free agency. Ah, yes... that new player smell.

Say what you want about the deals Burke has made thus far, but the guy is never boring.

So, today I sit in front of my computer, my favourite sports radio station in the background, the trade tracker in the tray, sitting on the edge of my seat.

Here's what we've learned so far, Alexei Ponikarovsky is gone to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Luca Caputi and Martin Skoula are in. Skoula, presumably to make the trade possible cap-wise. So, basically we've got Caputi. A young forward with decent size, who might fit into a power forward role but who has questionable skating. So, a younger, cheaper Poni? Does this version hit?

Even still, I sit here with my wish list reading, "Top Six Forward." There's still hope, right?

There's word out of Toronto that Tomas Kaberle has made a list of teams he'd accept a trade to. Apparently the Washington Capitals are hot on his trail. I like Kaberle, but the guy has to get out of here to have a chance at winning anything. Yes, we'll be crying for a puck-moving defenceman after he's gone, but who does he have up front to move the puck to, in Toronto? We've got Dion Phaneuf now. Surely we can find someone else that can feed Phaneuf the puck during powerplays. So move Kaberle now, while he still has some value.

Beyond that, we've got Lee Stepniak, Garnett Exelby, and Wayne Primeau (I thought I had heard Primeau had been traded for a fourth round pick, but have found no confirmation of that) that are possibly on the move. Oh, dear. This might be a long day.

I'll be here, though. On the edge of my seat. There's hope, right?After all, it's the most wonderful time of the year.

That's what I wrote yesterday.

Being new to the blogosphere, I didn't get that submission in on time. However, this affords me the luxury of looking back.

Kaberle is still a Leaf. Burke says he might even extend the talented Czech's contract. I have no problem with this. We can all see now that there is no plan for a long rebuild, and Burke said as much in his post-deadline state of the union.

Since you probably aren't going to find a better puck moving defenceman, you might as well hold on to what you have. Kaberle is still relatively young and we've all seen what he can do when he has a shooter like Phaneuf to feed the puck to.

So let's review what the Maple Leafs have reaped over the past couple of days. Kaputi, 21-years-old, a possible power forward. Defenceman Matt Jones, a 26-year-old, left-shooting, six foot 224-pound defenceman (Yes, I had to Google that too). Defenceman Chris Peluso, 23, and a small defenceman by NHL standards.The Leafs also picked up fourth, fifth and seventh round picks in 2010 as well as a seventh rounder in 2011.

We say goodbye to Ponikarovsky, Lee Stempniak, Joey MacDonald, a sixth round pick in 2010 and Martin Skoula (we hardly knew you).

I am reserving judgement at this time, since I have no clue who most of the players coming back are. I will say this though, I was impressed with getting a player and two picks back for Stempniak. Meanwhile, I am scratching my head at giving away yet another draft pick (do we have any left for 2010?) for a small defenceman.

All in all, it was another disappointing day for fans like me who get all excited for trade deadline day. I know, I know, cap issues and whatnot. Still, it was nice to dream for a day, wasn't it?

And besides, the NHL entry draft is right around the corner. Dream on.



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