One thing for certain is that many Leaf fans thought the price was too high. An all-star defenceman and a (so we thought) budding NHL star in Steen, the Leafs in the end did not make the rumored deal and I count myself in the group at the time who was very glad it didn't happen.
How wrong we were.
Yesterday Damien Cox wrote a story about Jake Gardiner being the player coveted by Columbus as the centerpiece in a trade package. I got that same feeling as I did nearly 6 years ago. The voice in my head:
"We can't possibly trade Jake Gardiner. He's going to be a superstar".
Gardiner right now is the highest scoring rookie defenceman in the NHL. He is giving every indication that he's a star in the making, his minutes and production rising as the season grinds on. I would rather trade any 2 of our prospects together than Gardiner right now.
From a pure business standpoint, it would be a no brainer to trade Gardiner. You look at asset management and it goes like this. Toronto sign Francois Beauchemin as a UFA giving up zero assets. Toronto then trade Beachemin for Lupul and Gardiner. If you're doing the math, that means Toronto have acquired an all-star forward heading towards 80 points and a bluechip rookie d-man, without giving up any organizational assets (other than some salary for Beauchemin during his tenure).
To then move a package similar to those two players for Rick Nash, you can see that the whole thing is working out pretty good for the long-term health of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
So why can't I shake this sick feeling in my stomach?