By Doug Gilmore
Buyers or sellers?
Last week in this column, I asked which one of those things the Maple Leafs would be.
The trade deadline has come and gone, and I'm still not sure.
Whether you are going to go for it now or build for the future, you would think a team might want to dedicate itself once it has made the decision.
But the actions -- or lack thereof -- by the Leafs this past week did not seem to clarify anything at first glance.
Firs, let's look at the deals they did make.
Ken Klee for Luke Richardson was a trade for a trade.
That's pretty much a sawoff.
Getting the young prospect from the Devils was a good move. And once you look at what the Leafs added and gave up on the day, all it cost them was, at worst, a fourth-round selection.
It's a nice pickup. It's a step.
But not a big enough one.
Frankly, for me, like many of the fans, the Leafs' course of action was a real head-scratcher. I understand general managers must be protective of their organization's assets and best interests.
But all you have to do is click on the radio and TV talk shows or read the letters to the editor the past few days and the message has always been the same.
What is John Ferguson thinking?
Where is the light at the end of the tunnel?
Ferguson does have a trump card left. The Leafs will have a significant amount of cash to use on the free-agent market this summer.
But can they woo the top guys on their list? And can they spend the cash wisely?
Are you confident they can do either?
Enough about the Leafs.
Don't want to make you more frustrated than you already are.
Let's look at how the other Canadian teams fared.
It's obvious the salary cap affected the nature of the deals that were made, although it didn't stop eager GMs from completing a draft-day record 25 transactions on Thursday.
I think Tyler Arnason wiil help Ottawa and being in Ottawa will help him. He'll be under the microscope there and that's just the elixer that might bring him to the next level.
When you look at the Jose Theodore-David Aebischer trade between Montreal and Colorado, Jose's big contract obviously had a lot to do with it.
At the same time, look at Colorado's history. Pierre Lacroix, accustomed to having Patrick Roy for so many years, was looking for a top goalie for the playoffs. They probably feel they can find a way to get Jose back to the level he once was at.
In Colorado, Jose won't be under the intense spotlight like he was in Montreal. And I also think he welcomes the challenge of following in Patrick's footsteps.
The Edmonton Oilers made a fine pickup, in my opinion, by landing goalie Dwayne Roloson. I was in Buffalo with Dwayne and I know he's a solid player.
I also think Sergei Samsonov will excel in Edmonton. He's a great skater who now is playing on the best ice in the league.
Calgary, while needing an impact player, made a pretty good move in getting Jamie Lundmark. I think he'll contribute nicely to their offence.
Vancouver needed depth on the blueline and in goal, and they got it. They good veteran defensive help in the form of Keith Carney, Eric Weinrich, Sean Brown and, in the case of goalie Mikka Noronen, this now is his time to shine.
Vancouver GM Dave Nonis deserves credit. He addressed the weaknesses in his team without giving up too much.
All the while, Leafs fans keep wondering: "Why not us?"