What That Was All About
|AP FILE PHOTO|
|Nik Antropov’s Leafs career is over after being drafted 10th overall 1998.|
The Maple Leafs started the day with five picks in this summer's draft, selections in the first, third, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.
They ended it with eight picks, adding two second rounders and a fourth, as well as an extra conditional selection acquired in the Nik Antropov deal with the Rangers.
Nothing spectacular, but certainly necessary. Instead of having one pick in the top 60 selections, the Leafs should have three in the top 50. Instead of having two picks in the top 120, the Leafs now have five.
That's how the restocking of the prospect cupboard starts.
Most intriguing was the complicated deal with Tampa Bay that arrived well after the 3 p.m. deadline and required special approval from NHL headquarters. The Leafs added the contracts of Olaf Kolzig (injured, out for the season), Jamie Heward (concussed, out for season), oft-injured AHLer Andy Rogers and a fourth-round pick for Marlie defenceman Richard Petiot.
What the heck was that all about?
Basically, the Leafs bought a fourth-round pick (actually Carolina's) from Tampa for about $500,000. The Lightning, a franchise absolutely spurting red ink, was willing to sell that pick just so they don't have to pay Kolzig, Heward et al for the rest of the season. They saved even more dollars by dealing away Mark Recchi and Steve Emminger.
Whether Rogers or Petiot might be a viable NHLer one day is almost beside the point.
So while on paper the Leafs can boast of a goaltending lineup of Curtis Joseph, Martin Gerber and Kolzig, it's a virtual group, really, that would only be meaningful if it was 1999.
Check back with Damien's blog Thursday at 1 p.m. for a live Q&A on all the trades and what it means moving forward. Click here to submit a question now for tomorrow's discussion.
Dominic Moore, acquired after waivers last year by John Ferguson, re-signed by Cliff Fletcher and traded away Wednesday by Brian Burke, netted a second-round pick, a net gain for the Leaf organization.
And what of Antropov, the 10th overall pick in 1998, moved to Manhattan for a second rounder?
Well, the Leafs got a lot of years of service for the Kazakh. We watched him grow from a skinny, confused kid with little ability to speak English into a power forward with scoring ability, not to mention a gentleman and a father.
Was he a bust? Well, he didn't become a star, but look at the other players taken in '98. After Vinny Lecavalier went first, the order went David Legwand, Brad Stuart, Bryan Allen, Vitali Vishnevski, Rico Fata, Manny Malhotra, Mark Bell, Mike Rupp and then Antropov.
Based on that group, Antropov was a very successful pick by the Leafs. At the end, he was traded because he wasn't good enough for the dollars he'll be looking for as a free agent to a team that's at the very early stages of a long rebuilding period. And if he pans out for the Rangers and helps them win two playoff rounds this spring, the Leafs will get an additional fourth rounder.