Sure Keith Aulie disappointed the Maple Leafs. If he didn't regress, he didn't progress, either. With multiple chances to play in the NHL this season, he couldn't stick.
But more to the point, Brian Burke and Co. felt they were dealing from a position of depth chart strength in moving Aulie to Tampa for winger Carter Ashton, son of longtime NHLer Brent Ashton.
As NHL prospects, Aulie and Ashton are about equal, just different positions, and the Leafs have a greater need for forwards. Ashton's a tall, strong skater, not a big scorer, and the question is whether he'll have the grit to play in the NHL.
"We feel we have some depth on D and we needed some size and foot speed up front," said Burke. "Our scouts have been pushing me on this guy for a while."
That turns out to be the biggest deal of the day for the Leafs, who will go forward with young defencemen Luke Schenn, Jake Gardiner, Carl Gunnarson, Korbinian Holzer and Jesse Blacker.
The Leafs were interested in Rick Nash, but for the past few days Burke felt they were on the outside looking in, and the Leaf GM wasn't interested in building a package of four pieces or more around Gardiner.
Centre Mikhail Grabovski also wasn't moved, and it appears the Leafs are closing in on a new contract with the second-line pivot. In the end, the Leafs basically either chose to stand pat or couldn't do more.
"Some people will be disappointed in that but I'm not," said Burke, who said he is so convinced the trade deadline causes such trouble in Toronto that he may do as he does at Christmas and institute a trade freeze 10 days before the league deadline.
The Leafs also added minor league defenceman Mark Fraser from Anaheim.