This, my friends, is officially the most talked about fourth-round pick of all-time:
NHL deputy commissioner, Bill Daly, confirmed the sanctions to TSN.
"We can confirm that the Toronto Maple Leafs have been sanctioned by the league for violations of league rules in connection with the club's 2008 signing of Jonas Frogren, and that one aspect of the league-imposed discipline requires the forfeiture of the club's fourth round draft pick in the 2009 Entry Draft (previously acquired from Tampa Bay). We have no further comment on the matter."
Here was my take on the fourth-rounder back at the deadline on what's now truly become a bizarre set of events. Brian Burke's likely seething.
Not press release Brian Burke, though (too bad his Twitter account's gone).
''The Toronto Maple Leafs acknowledge and apologize for the error of judgement,'' Burke said in a statement. ''The club accepts the punishment handed down by the league and will not be commenting further on the matter.''
I haven't seen a take anywhere in the press on this so far, but Pension Plan Puppets has the right idea:
"They stripped the Leafs of their fourth round draft pick (while conveniently allowing the rest of the trade to go through so that the Lightning qualify for revenue sharing!) and have punished them for a deal that was ruled legal and a buyout that is not explicitly prohibited under the current CBA (teams cannot directly buyout contracts but the Leafs just gave Frogren a whack of cash). Essentially, two good moves are being wiped out because the league hates creativity."
Originally I'd said that Burke made this deal "to prove he could," but that's obviously been refuted emphatically by the league (albeit a month later). What rational they can use as to why they waited this long to rule on the Frogren situation given he signed in July, I haven't the foggiest, but the bottom line is that the Tampa deal has cost Burke about $500,000 and the rights to Richard Petiot, who's looked pretty decent for the Lightning thus far.
And there's still no word on when Lou Lamoriello gets his smack on the wrist for this one.