Friday, November 28, 2008

Some blue-and-white noise

Brian Burke once traded Alexander Semin for Trevor Linden.

It was actually the first-round draft choice that the Washington Capitals used to take Semin, who is blossoming into a top-end offensive talent. It is mind-boggling how this factoid's little nugget has anything less than 100% penetration, given the saturation coverage of Lord Brian of Bombast, lo, these past few weeks.

Alexander Semin for Trevor Linden ... Burke has not had the best draft record. Naturally, a leading opinion-shaper starts off his column by talking about the Leafs are in such a state due to their poor drafts eight, nine, 10 years ago.

Only in Toronto. Or as Erin Nicks would put it, "Woman, please."


Drew said...

Burke does have a poor draft record, so doesn't it follow that he would have passed on Semin in that draft slot? I've never been a fan of Semin-Linden type scenarios. As a Leaf fan, I take (some) comfort knowing that Tom Kurvers was in fact not dealt for Scot Neidermayer, as there is no way the Buds make a good pick at number 3 in 1991. This was a rough and tumble Leaf era (I'm being generous) and I guarantee that one of Scott Lachance, Aaron Ward or likely, Alek Stojanov would have been holding up a blue sweater with 91 on the back.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

I dissent with the poor draft record. Look at the maneuvering he did to get the Sedin twins, who have turned out to be about the only useable players from that draft (#1 = Patrick Stefan). Yes, some of his moves didn't turn out as well, but the draft is a crapshoot most of the time, and arguing Semin for Linden doesn't really matter; there's just as much chance that Washington could have picked someone who never made the big club.

Besides, Linden was an extremely useful player to have back in Vancouver from several standpoints. He didn't put up the tremendous scoring numbers he had earlier, but he was solid on the penalty kill, brought leadership to the room and was one of the club's best defensive forwards for years. He even led them in playoff scoring one year. Moreover, bringing him back was a symbolic way to end the damage of the Keenan years. I'm not complaining about that trade, even in retrospect.

sager said...

Cliff Fletcher was hired in '91, and when you pick No. 2 or No. 3, the pick is usually fairly obvious ... they would have taken Niedermayer.

@ Andrew: Linden never again had 20 goals or 50 points in a season with the Canucks. That's not worth giving up the 13th overall pick, based on the average rate of return.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

Yeah, Neate, you're right if you're only going on offensive numbers. My point is that Linden was more valuable than his offensive stats, both on and off the ice. Maybe I'm deluded, but I would have made the same trade even if I knew the pick would be Semin; without knowing how good the pick would be, that's a pretty good move in my books.

sager said...

This is just a personal preference, but you never trade a first-round pick for any player who's past the age of 30 ... when you consider that you're giving up the player's controllable years for a high-priced veteran, there's not much cost benefit.

If the Canucks had gone to the finals in '03, which they were certainly capable of, it would be a different story. As it stands, six years later they could use a creative offensive player.