Alright as promised I am gonna talk about the Phil Kessel trade. Originally Kessel was to be a Leaf on draft day back in June that would have seen Tomas Kaberle become a Bruin. The only problem was that Peter Chiarelli and Brian Burke were confused as to who was going to get a 1st round pick with their new player, the deal ultimately fell through because of this.
So over the whole summer Burke talked about how he was either going to acquire Kessel in a trade or by signing him to an offer sheet. Kessel was an unrestricted free agent so whoever traded for him would then have to sign him to a contract. Well Burke made a deal with the Black Hawks near the begging of the year to reacquire Toronto's 2nd round pick so that Burke could use it as part of the trade to get Kessel or use it to sign Kessel to an offer sheet and give Boston its compensation draft picks. Burke pulled the trigger on the deal in the middle of September, sending Toronto's 1st and 2nd round picks in this year draft to Boston as well as Toronto's 1st round pick in the 2011 draft. While Toronto got an unsigned restricted free agent (Phil Kessel). Kessel quickly signed a 5 year/27 million dollar contract with the Leafs.
That brings us to today the Leafs are in the basement of the league and are currently in possession of the 1st overall pick in the draft. However that pick now belongs to Boston. Kessel has made Toronto a better team and he is still young he is only 22 years old.
Many are already criticizing this deal because the Leafs weren't supposed to be this bad. Many are making the argument that Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin could easily help the Leafs just as much as Kessel is now. While others argued that despite Kessel's great goal numbers they would surely drop as in Boston Kessel had Marc Savard feeding him passes, but there is no one on Toronto's roster that could feed the puck to Phil. While Kessel has only played in 8 games this year because of off season shoulder surgery, he has 5 goals and 3 assists and is a +2.
I think time will tell the real story of this deal. If the Leafs go onto win a cup down the road and Kessel is still on the team many will say the deal was worth it no matter how good those 3 picks turn out to be. Or maybe Kessel leaves and we gave up those picks for 5 years of Kessel, or maybe we win a cup with Phil and maybe only 1 or more of those picks we sent to Boston become busts or they suffer a career ending injury. There are so many factors to consider when talking about this, I would have to side with taking Kessel, he has been one of the few bright lights for Toronto this season, pair that with the fact he is a proven sniper and he has yet to hit his prime as he is only 22. Kessel is going to be a good player but again time will tell just how good of a player he will turn out to be. The same will be said about the draft picks we gave up for Phil.
I am sure I will take heat for this but it's too early for anyone to be on the right side of this argument. It does irk me to see us in contention for the 1st overall pick in the draft and it doesn't even belong to us, however we could make a push and get out of the bottom 10 in the league. I DON'T see this happening but stranger things have happened in Leaf land.
There is of course the option to trade Kaberle for a 1st rounder but would it be worth it? Or could you sell someone on giving up a 1st rounder on a pending free agent? That would depend on where we traded T Kab and what position that team held in the draft. Let's face we don't have any real attractive assets in Toronto except for Kaberle. We are not going to move Kadri or any of are young guys, our veterans are over paid with large contracts. Guys like Blake, Hagman are the contracts I am talking about. We may be able to move Ponikarovsky or Stajan but were not going to get 1st rounders for them unless your playing NHL 09, best case you get a 2nd rounder each for them. Ian White is having a good year as well but I think Burke and Wilson both enjoy White and his never give up attitude so it would really take a good return to move him. I am not saying Ian White would fetch a 1st rounder by any means, but I think they both enjoy his style of play and he is only 25. He is on pace for 20 goals this year, but we all know that production is likely going to fall off, never the less Ian White went from being in the dog house to start last year to eating up minutes and pitching in from the point this year.
In next weeks blog I will talk about disappointing players who are wearing the blue and white.