Brian Burke would lead you to believe he is anything but a big trade-deadline guy, but the NHL general manager had a funny way of showing it Wednesday.
Burke pushed the Toronto Maple Leafs' rebuilding phase to a different level as he dealt forwards Nik Antropov and Dominic Moore to the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres, respectively, for a pair of second-round draft picks.
The former GM of the Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks and Hartford Whalers also worked the waiver wire, claiming goaltender Martin Gerber from the Ottawa Senators and defenceman Eric Reitz from the Rangers.
Some would say Burke, for the lack of a better word, bought a fourth-round pick from Tampa Bay in a trade that included injured Lightning goalie Olaf Kolzig, defencemen Jamie Heward and Andy Rogers, in return for defenceman Richard Petiot.
With Kolzig out with an upper-body injury and the other players not expected to skate in the NHL anytime soon, the Leafs essentially used salary-cap space to acquire the fourth-rounder.
It's all part of Burke's plan to put the building blocks in place to get the franchise back into the playoff mix in the years to come.
Aiming for a happy ending
"General managers don't view snapshots as far as where an organization is going," said Burke, who joined the Maple Leafs last November. "We're looking at the movie and we want to see the guy ride off at the end on a white horse with the girl and have a parade.
"That's what we want and that's going to take some time and I think people in this market understand that, I really do."
Toronto has surprised many with its 11th-place standing in the Eastern Conference and stands only nine points out of a playoff spot.
While the move of Antropov (46 points) and Moore (41 points) was expected, many hockey observers probably didn't expect the changes on the goaltending front.
After claiming Gerber, Burke announced starting netminder Vesa Toskala was being shut down for the season and would require surgery to repair an injured hip.
Toskala played one of his best games of the season Tuesday, kicking aside 49 shots in a 3-2 overtime loss to the visiting New Jersey Devils. He hasn't lost in regulation since Jan. 19.
"We've been knowing what's going on for a while," Toskala said of the hip problem. "That's it — we made the decision together. We need to start healing [it] as soon as possible because recovery might take quite a long time."
Toskala went 22-17-11 on the season with a 3.26 goals-against average and .891 save percentage. That compares with a 2.74 GAA and .904 save percentage a year ago.
Joseph as backup
Gerber, 34, will likely get most of the starts for the remaining 18 games, with Curtis Joseph as the backup. Gerber went 4-9-1 with a 2.86 GAA and .899 save percentage for Ottawa and spent about half the season with Binghamton of the American Hockey League.
Eligible for unrestricted free agency July 1, Gerber is making $3.7 million this season and will have half his salary paid by the Leafs.
The market for defenceman Tomas Kaberle never materialized after he left Tuesday's contest against New Jersey with a hand injury. But Burke has a window this off-season to move Kaberle without his approval.
"The trainer is not going to have to tape my wrists from doing cartwheels but I'm pleased with what was done," said Burke, who also assigned forward Tim Stapleton to the team's AHL affiliate.
"It was a good day for us, long term. Short term, we are saying goodbye to a couple of pretty good hockey players [in Antropov and Moore]."