The Maple Leafs-Flames trade has been long in the making - the better part of ten days. Dave Nonis of the Toronto Maple Leafs spent a fair bit of time in Alberta, obviously looking at Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom, and Keith Aulie before this deal was finalized on Saturday night.
But the big question now for the Maple Leafs is if you look at their defensive corps, you see some big horses there in Dion Phaneuf, Mike Komisarek, Francois Beauchemin, and Luke Schenn, so the belief out there is that Tomas Kaberle will be next. It's not a question of 'if', it's a question of 'when'.
But Kaberle, at least for the moment, holds the cards because of his no-trade clause. Perhaps the deals that were made this weekend encourage him to reconsider whether or not he wants to waive or ask for that trade. If not, the Leafs will be looking for a top-3 or top-6 forward, or a top-6 forward and a first-round draft pick for the upcoming draft in June.
The Maple Leafs-Ducks deal is, temporarily, a win-win for both teams. But on the long term, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the winners on this deal because of what this allows them to do. On the short term, the Leafs will have approximately $1.5 million in cap space which they can manoeuvre between now and the March 3 NHL trade deadline. If you're looking toward the long-term, you can look at the benefits in goal. J.S. Giguere's contract expires after next season, so Toronto can weigh their options at that point.
But that also gives them the necessary time to continue to develop Jonas Gustavsson. Yes, Gustavsson is a restricted free agent, and they have to make a decision on whether to qualify him, and what price they want to pay in terms of extending his contract. But, this buys the Leafs organization some time with Giguere there based on his experience to develop Gustavsson in a timely fashion.