As talk in the NHL heats up about the possibilities of Brian Burke taking over for Cliff Fletcher as GM of hockey’s most valuable hockey franchise, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Fletcher makes perhaps his final move in the Leafs’ front office. The Leafs made a bit of a splash today trading Centre Alex Steen and defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo to the St. Louis Blues for RW Lee Stempniak. Over the last few seasons Steen has struggled to muster up much offensive success, after pleasantly surprising Toronto fans with a strong rookie season in 2005-06. Colaiacovo has had more injuries than most Leafs combined over the last half-decade, and has dressed for only 111 games over 6 seasons of play in the NHL. The trade comes less than a week after Leafs’ head coach Ron Wilson, in a discussion with Toronto media, openly criticized Colaiacovo’s dedication to his personal fitness.
While Steen and Colaiacovo have been virtual fantasy non-factors so far this season, Stempniak has been somewhat of an offensive threat, posting 13 points through 14 games. He may very well fit in on the powerplay and perhaps on the second scoring line. He posted a career high 27 goals in 2006-07. The Leafs clear up some space on a crowded blue line while the Blues satisfy their need for a centre, after former all-star Andy McDonald suffered a broken ankle last week which will keep him out at least two months.