Guys like Steen, Wellwood, White, Colaiacovo, Gustavsson are all serviceable NHLers, but the problem in Toronto was always the lack of a Sundin-level replacement to slot ahead of them either up front or on defense, which may or may not be an issue going forward even now. But generally, they're not the toughest guys to replace, Steen was replaced with Grabs, Wellwood with Bozak, Cola a number of times over with other average defenders...
I just thought this was interesting. We always hear how terrible Toronto players/prospects are yet the mighty Red Wings have recently flirted with Colaiacovo, Ian White, Jonas Gustavsson.....
Are the Detroit Management staff 100% in their player assessments? I like the Dmen you listed. Even as Leafs...were decent NHLers. Gustavsson has proven nothing. Carlo and Ian both played well on every NHL team they played on. Gustavsson has yet to prove he is anything more than a backup goalie..which is what he will continue to fight for in Detroit.
I still do not understand the Stempniak for Steen and Calaicovo deal. What was Flecther thinking.
I personally hate the trade, both now and at the time it was made (was big Cola fan) but Fletcher was thinking of getting a 25 year old winger capable of potting 30 goals (hit 27g as a 23 yo) for two younger players that were down on the depth chart and had somewhat plateaued in their development at the time (this being the biggest problem as Steen and Cola were at their lowest value).
Steen was stuck playing bottom 6 and had 4 pts in 20 games at the time he was traded.
Cola (who Wilson immediately targeted as soft/lazy) was the 7th Dman, and had 1 pt in 10 games at the time.
We did have the depth to make this type of deal at the time (2 for 1) just the parts traded and acquired were not the best choices.
Steen is/was the type of player Wilson should have been molding into our long term capable 2-way centre.
Writing was on the wall for Cola though, after Wilson singled him out.
Stempniak is what he is, he's got to be with paired with good/great players if he's going to be effective, which we did not have enough of at the time he was here.