in march 2004, the toronto maple leafs then-rookie GM, john ferguson junior, traded two prospects (jarkko immonen, maxim kondratiev) and two draft picks (which came to be lauri korpikoski & michael sauer) to have brian leetch lace up his skates in the blue and white for 20-or-so games. while all my toronto hockey buddies [leafs fans, mostly] thought this was one of the best trades ever, i saw it for what it was ---far too dear a price to pay for a player that would simply not be the guy to end toronto's 40 year cup drought.
this was also the trade that saw my east-coast allegiences jump from the leafs to the rangers... and my dislike for JFJ increase thousandfold. sure, kondratiev isn't really that great (heading back to russia this season after a stint in the AHL), and leetch did have a few decent games at the ACC, but immonen and korpikoski are both top ten rangers prospects (immonen slotting in at #3, just behind al montoya and marc staal). the bottom line: JFJ traded a good chunk of the leafs futures for an unrealistic shot at the third round of the playoffs.
this is my take.
since then, i still think JFJ has made some questionable moves, the biggest being the really expensive, really long deal with bryan mccabe that includes a no-movement clause. i'm having a hard time tracking down which (if any) other current leafs have a no-trade clause but i believe there to be at least one or two more (kubina ? kaberle ?). his lengthy contracts above market value on numerous players make them impossible to move, regardless of legalities (kubina, again, and hal fucking gill, for example).
somebody said to me a couple of days ago "do you think the reason he's making the team so un-changeable is so that no other GM will want to come in and take it over, thereby solidifying his own job ?" sure, it's a stretch, but then the sundin hip saga started today, and one has to wonder ---who better to "sabotage" sundin's contract negotiations than the weasel at the top ?
just a theory... ;)
MG, kyle ---beers thursday ?