The only worthwhile draft pick of Darryl Sutter’s entire career as GM has been traded to Toronto for little more than a defensive defenceman, two UFAs, and Niklas Hagman. Sutter traded Dion Phaneuf in a monster blockbuster trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Phaneuf will find a fine home in Toronto and the Flames will rid themselves of an underachieving and overpriced defenceman. One thing is for sure, Phaneuf isn’t a ‘Derek Morris’ and will certainly blossom into star defenceman that will leave Flames fans shaking their heads in two years time.

By that time Keith Aulie, defensive prospect for Calgary now with the Leafs, may also crack the lineup in Toronto and show everyone why he’s made the national junior team. Calgary on the other hand will say goodbye to Mayers, will high give Hagman for his defensive game, and will have one of White or Stajan, but likely not both. So the trade amounts to Hagman and White? for Phaneuf.

Point Burke.

The Trade:

To Calgary: Jamal Mayers, Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Ian White

To Toronto: Dion Phaneuf, Fredrick Sjostrom, Keith Aulie

More Stats and in-Depth Coverage on the Trade

Calgary on the other hand will address their offensive problems, albeit temporarily, adding a band-aid solution to the LW that was left vacant time in and time again by Sutter who traded away any helpful players that developed here (Tanguay, Huselius, Cammalleri). Instead we’re replacing with Stajan and Hagman (perhaps Calgary’s loss of Moss and Dawes will be longer than expected?)

How does the trade break down at this precise moment in the season?

Matt Stajan: TOR55162541-33076012991.75 M
Nik Hagman:TOR55201333-323420011483 M
Ian White:TOR569172613923001130.850 M
Jamal Mayers: TOR44268-57800000471.3 M
Dion Phaneuf:CGY55101222349560021386.5 M
Fred Sjostrom:CGY46156280000033.750 M
TOTALSCGY111728557560027.25 M
TOTALSDiff364480512385012$350 000

Hagman is the greatest offensive addition and will provide some interesting depth on LW. The Finnish forward may play well with Jokinen, or perhaps Iginla? Plus he kills penalties well. He’s got two more years at 3 million and might be the only upswing of this trade.

Stajan on the other hand puts up David Moss numbers, is slightly smaller, yet has a bit more skill. Mayers is an upgrade on Sjostrom, although he won’t be around next season. That leaves White on the back end. Both players are UFA at the end of the season. Stajan will command a slight raise I would surmise (if he resigns here), Mayers is gone.

Ian White looks good in Toronto, but there is debate whether he’s a top 4 D man with the Flames, or a 5-6 man. Regardless, he’s got talent, but by ‘talent’ I mean the kind of talent that puts you slightly above Cory Sarich. White is a RFA at the end of the season.

That means that today the Flames traded and gained 36 goals, 44 assists, and 80 points. Tomorrow, however, the Flames maybe very well be left as the laughing stock of the league known only as the place where GMs can rip off management for better trades–only time will tell. Eric Duhatschek noted that this trade may very well rival the debacle 18 years ago when another Flames-Leafs trade went down that saw Doug Gilmore head to T-Dot.

Some may argue this trade is about money. Well this year, if we factor in Aulie, the save just over 1 million, but their cap savings are $350,000. That’s hardly anything given the talent going to Toronto. NEXT season factor in a few things:

Mayers likely won’t return, that’s a 1.3 million savings. However, White and Stajan would get increase, albeit slightly. So really, when you factor all players concerned, the Flames today and next year stand to save at best 1 million. Now, over years 3-4-5 the Flames will save a bit more given 6.5 million for Phaneuf over 5 seasons, nonetheless, the salary cap argument isn’t really a huge advantage to the Flames in the short term.

Kent makes an interesting point that the trade does re-allocate dollars away from the lopsided defensive investment the Flames had, to the forward ranks (he seems to like the trade more than me :P).

Phaneuf on the other hand will be a cornerstone to the rebuilding in Toronto and becomes the second highest paid players behind the newly acquired JS Giguere (ex Flame too).

Sure Flames fans demanded a trade, but they demanded market value, and if Sutter played his cards right then he got it. Was this trade the best the market could offer then Phaneuf may have been better off staying and the Flames looking to fix things after the year’s end. One bad year or 10 years of regret?

The intangibles of this trade have to discussed as well. Was Phaneuf a distraction in the locker room? Will he be able to handle the night scene and limelight in Toronto? Will the Flames regret giving up a ‘core’ player? In return, Calgary did NOT receive ‘core’ quality players. Will Regehr pick up his game now that he doesn’t have to babysit Phaneuf? Will the added scoring touch give Calgary the offensive punch they need moving forward? Who sits once Dawes, Moss, and Conroy return? Does the extra cash mean Giordano is going to get a big raise (and then promptly traded when he tanks?).

**EDIT** on the GM Sutter’s thoughts: The way I understood it Sutter made the trade because he had strengths on defence and the team up front wasn’t producing. Didn’t sound like he wanted to make the trade but the performance of forwards forced him to answer the scoring problems. You could hear that Sutter wasn’t pleased with how his plan has progressed thus far and that the vets especially at C haven’t scored.

So essentially Sutter answered all the calls to improve the crappy team scoring and had to give up a stud D man. I would’ve been happy with more picks in the deal.

Many questions that will start to be answered tomorrow against the Flyers, a game that’s sure to attract plenty of attention. Check out the new Flames official team stats page to see where the new additions stack up, better than you’d think (top D points man is now White, second point getter is now Stajan).

When push comes to shove this trade may very well boil down to Dion Phaneuf and Keith Aulie for Nik Hagman and Ian White. To me that’s terrible. A huge squandering of Flames talent. Sure you save a bit of money, but Sutter didn’t even get draft picks for this or next year, something the team is sorrily lacking after the last debacle in the Jokinen deal.

All in all, a boost today for a long term loss of a ‘core’ NHL defenceman. Let’s let this one pan out and reassess at season’s end. Only time will tell, but we may regret this one for years to come. Your thoughts?