If you'd speculated upon this Calgary deal 18 months ago, I and pretty much everyone else who observes the Maple Leafs from a position of neutrality would have laughed it off as one of those dreamer deals that only fans of Toronto's NHL franchise dream up.
You know. How about this fourth-liner and that backup goalie plus a second round pick for Sidney Crosby? Or Alex Ovechkin? Or Zach Parise?
Those kind of pie-in-the-sky swaps.
Well, if you'd said halfway last season that the Leafs were going to be able to structure a trade for Dion Phaneuf around Matt Stajan, Ian White and Niklas Hagman, people would have laughed.
But today it happened.
That it did tells you something about the way players are perceived and valued differently in different markets.
See, most people see Phaneuf and his enormous salary and Hollywood girlfriend and colorful on-ice persona and think superstar.
That White has more points than Phaneuf and a similar plus-minus on a much worse club would come as a surprise to many.
So would the fact that in deals with Calgary to get Phaneuf and with Anaheim to get goalie J.S. Giguere, the Leafs gave up 57 goals and received only 11 in return.
Still, both the deal with the Flames and the one with the Ducks share one component. The other club is taking most of the risk.
If Giguere can't play anymore - unlikely - the Leafs have added a big salary for next season, but dumping both Vesa Toskala and Jason Blake is a victory regardless of the return. At worst Giguere can mentor Jonas Gustavsson, a job Toskala didn't exactly embrace.
With the Phaneuf trade, Calgary added depth in the four Leafs acquired and may be a better team for the transaction.
But none of the four will ever be an NHL star.
Phaneuf might. In fact, he was, or at least a star-in-the-making, until he regressed last season and this season.
If he just turns out to be an erratic, overpaid player, the Leafs will be disappointed but not burned.
If he wins a Norris Trophy one day, the Flames are going to be awfully embarrassed.
Hard to say if the Leafs are better today, athough with Tomas Kaberle, Mike Komisarek (injured), Francois Beauchemin and Phaneuf they have a intriguing blueline, and Giguere has got to be better than Toskala.
But they are younger. Four players 30 years or older left town yesterday, and only one - Giguere - came back.
They are more North American and younger. Freddie Sjostrom is a fringe player but only 26, and defenceman Keith Aulie is at least a viable prospect.
These deals may or may not work out. But there is a big upside connected with Phaneuf, and little risk from a Leaf point-of-view.