You guys clearly won this deal...when I got home, I looked at this deal, and I really want to hit Burke right now across the face. I know a lot of Thrasher fans like Exelby, etc, but Toronto got ripped off really badly.
Pavel Kubina was perhaps my favorite defensman in Toronto for the past 2-3 seasons, and I really thought a lot of Toronto fans did not appreciate what he did (until recently) because he was not stuck with a very good team. Kubina always showed up in the big games we needed him and literally took over the game for us. Trust me when I say Toronto got SCREWED over in this deal. Kubina is really a number 1 defensman material, he might have a big contract, but he blocks important shots, and is great on one-on-one situations...I am kind of pissed that we gave him away at that price...but since Kovalchuk is one of my favorite players, I don't mind too much...if you guys have a strong team next year, Kubina will definitely be worth the trade, but with a rebuilding team, its very hard to say.
I think this is a definite improvement for this team, with Kubina now at the backline. At the same time, I'd like to say that I don't think Toronto got completely jobbed. Colin Stuart is someone I would have liked to keep moving forward. Exelby is a bit better than the reputation (defensively) that preceeds him. He's more than servicable. He's obviously not as good as Kubina at both facets, but he brings overall grit (less fighting as he did early on, due to concussion risk)..... and is still a tough guy to play against when he is on the mark hitting and not overzealously looking for the huge hit. Exelby is also cheaper, and younger. I would imagine he could become another fan favorite for having such a likable personality.
Kubina is worth more than Exelby, but this move looked geared to clear some capspace in Tor, without creating a huge void in talent on the backline.