Leafs acquire winger Stempniak from Blues

TSN.ca Staff
11/24/2008 5:56:43 PM
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The Toronto Maple Leafs aren't waiting for Brian Burke to come in and start making moves, as the club traded defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo and forward Alex Steen to the St. Louis Blues for forward Lee Stempniak on Monday.

The trade is contingent upon all three players passing their respective physicals.

Stempniak, 25, has three goals and 13 points in 14 games this season. In 233 career games with the Blues, the West Seneca, New York native has 57 goals and 130 points.

In Steen and Colaiacovo, the Leafs parted ways with two former draft picks that didn't live up to their first-round billing.

While neither Steen nor Colaiacovo appeared to be favourites of head coach Ron Wilson, Fletcher disputed the idea that he was asked to get either player off the team.

"It's not about getting these players out of here - they're good young hockey players," said Fletcher. "We think we're getting somebody that suits our needs better. Plain and simple."

Colaiacovo, whose career has been limited by numerous injuries, has played in 10 games this season with the Maple Leafs, recording one assist. The blueliner is in his sixth NHL season, having played in 111 career games with 33 points.

The Toronto native was originally drafted 17th overall in the 2001 Entry Draft.

"I was really caught by surprise," Colaiacovo said. "My first reaction was I was in shock. The first thing that went through my head was how great I've had it here in Toronto. How good it's been to me. How everyone in this organization has been good to me.

"I'm really going to miss that."

Steen, 24, has two goals and four points in 20 games this season. He's in his fourth NHL season, playing in 253 games and amassing 126 points. The Winnipeg native - son of former NHLer Thomas Steen - was originally drafted by Toronto in the first round, 24th overall in the 2002 Entry Draft.

"It came out of the blue," said Steen. "It's tough leaving the organization that's been so good to me and all the friends we've gotten to know in Toronto .

"At the same time, it's exciting. Chapter 2 has started. I'm excited to get down there and get to meet the guys and hopefully have a better, second, third and fourth quarter of the season."

The move comes as the Leafs are reportedly in the process of negotiating with Burke about becoming the team's new general manager.

Under current GM Cliff Fletcher, the Leafs have cut ties with 11 regulars from last year's team.

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