The Maple Leaf Nation can finally quite griping, GM John Ferguson has finally made a trade deadline pick up. Worried that the likes of Ottawa, Boston, Philly, Montreal and Detroit were picking off all the good talent. Fans of the Leafs were filling up the call in shows and newspaper pages with calls to action. A goaltender, a sniper, a policeman all were called for at one time or another.
Ferguson bided his time letting a Gonchar go by, not nibbling at a Jagr offering, taking a pass as Zhamnov, Lang and Bondra changed uniforms. But when he made his move, it was generally accepted he picked up the best value for his efforts.
Brian Leetch changes from Broadway Blues to Maple Leaf Blue tonight (ironically against his old foes the Islanders) and the fans and players in Toronto are beside themselves. Ferguson picked up the perennial all star defenceman and Norris Trophy winner, for two prospects not even playing in North America, and two draft picks in upcoming drafts, not a bad play for the first year GM. It will add stability to the Leaf blue line and most importantly brings in yet more experience, to what is probably one of the more veteran clubs in the NHL. The only drawback for the Leafs is that they will be without a first round draft pick again, but should they make it to the Stanley Cup Final the fans probably won't be too concerned.
Just another addition in this season of re-armament in the East. Each of the contenders in the conference have made a deal that has not only strengthened their franchise, but potentially is the missing link to make it to the Stanley Cup Final. It certainly sends a message not only to the fans but his own players, that Ferguson believes this is the year for the Leafs to win it all. The shopping spree will continue until Tuesday at Noon pacific time, but there may not be much left on the shelf by that time.