Don't Sweatt It
The Leafs made a deal on the eve of the UFA frenzy which sent Stalberg, Didomenico, and Paradis to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Kris Versteeg and the rights to Billy Sweatt. Most Leaf fans, myself included, knew little to nothing about Billy Sweatt, apparently a speedy winger who was selected in the second round back in 2007.
After some quick analysis and reassurance from GM Brian Burke, Leaf fans started to get excited about the little known prospect. Well now just two weeks later, he's gone. Sweatt had gone three years without an NHL contract, meaning that the Leafs only had a small window to sign him before they lost his rights and he hit the open market. A frustrated Brian Burke has decided to end negotiations with Billy Sweatt and his agent, this according to Dave Fuller of the Toronto Sun.
From Dave Fuller's article:“We liked his (Sweatt’s) foot speed, he has a chance, that’s all,” he wrote. “(But) we are allowed a max of 50 contracts. We would rather save the spot (than continue negotiating a deal with his agent).”
It's obvious that Brian Burke was frustrated and who wouldn't be, especially since he hasn't exactly had the easiest of time negotiating contracts this summer, most notably with Nik Kulemin and his agent.
Should Leaf fans be upset? I'm not too concerned with it, it's not like we lost out on an entire trade because of this, let's be serious here, Kris Versteeg was the centerpiece of that trade and he's not going anywhere. I'm sure Burke did all he could do to get him under contract. It'll be easy for Leaf fans to be upset with Billy Sweatt, but realistically he did what was best for his career. Why sign with a team when you already know that you will hit the open market in just a matter of days where you will be able to weigh all of your options?
I wouldn't be too worried about it either Leaf fans. Yes he's a solid player and looking at his NCAA career, he looks like a consistent player. But with that said, he doesn't look to be in the upper echelon of young American players. What I mean is that he's not on the level of guys like James van Riemsdyk. Who knows, I could be wrong and this may come back to haunt the Leafs, but I wouldn't count on it.
Don't Sweatt it Leaf fans,