MAJOR | The Canucks laid a MASSIVE offer to land a Norris-winning defenseman: The Maple Leafs had their chance and failed big-time

Published August 18, 2023 at 7:36 PM

This dates back to 2009, just a few days prior to the Annual Amateur Draft. In a video released shortly after, the Toronto Maple Leafs GM back then, Brian Burke, dropped a massive piece of information regarding the Canucks and a trade offer they had laid on the table to the Lightning for the 2nd overall pick:

‘'Vancouver has made a major effort to get the second pick out of Tampa Bay,» said Burke. «We heard they offered — again, this is all second-hand, so we don't know if it's true — we heard they offered [Alex] Burrows, [Kevin] Bieksa, and their own pick, and those are two pretty good players.»

History now knows that the Islanders went ahead and picked John Tavares. The Lightning walked up the stage to draft the enormous 6'6'', smooth-skating Swede, Victor Hedman.

The video also revealed that Burke had called the Lightning hoping to move up from the 7th to the 2nd, but when Tampa Bay asked for Luke Schenn, Burke shut down the conversation. At this point, Schenn was still considered a top-end defenseman in the NHL, and while he's had an outstanding career, the Leafs would've been an absolutely different franchise had they moved up to the 2nd rank and drafted Victor Hedman. They ended up drafting Nazem Kadri with the 7th.

Burrows had just established himself as a top6 winger, registering 51 points in 2008-2009. Bieksa was arguably the best defenseman on the Canucks' lineup; he was coming off a 43 points season that led all Canucks' defensemen. With hindsight, we know that Burrows' success didn't stop there since his career's best seasons came in 09-10 and 10-11. Bieksa kept being a positive addition to the team, and the Canucks 22nd pick ended up being Jordan Schroeder, who played a total of 56 games with the Canucks.

To think that the Lightning even considered trading away the possibility of a high-end talent like Victor Hedman is quite surreal. It seems clear that it was the Lightning who told the Canucks to back off, but would you have been inclined to offer more to get the Norris Trophy Winner?

The Canucks went in a deep Stanley Cup run just two years later, and both Burrows and Bieksa played a crucial part in the team's success. On their side of things, the Maple Leafs potentially had a deal based on the 7th OA (Nazem Kadri) and Luke Schenn. Should they have pulled the trigger on this? Schenn was only a 19-year-old back then and was seen as the next big thing after Shea Weber.

The Lightning ended up making the pick and took four trips to the Stanley Cup finals over the last 15 years with Victor Hedman on their line-up that ultimately led to a pair of rings.

August 18   |   739 answers
MAJOR | The Canucks laid a MASSIVE offer to land a Norris-winning defenseman: The Maple Leafs had their chance and failed big-time

Should the Canucks have offered more?

Yes25234.1 %
No48765.9 %
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