Johnston on Leafs: The Kessel conundrum

The most polarizing athlete in Toronto had provided plenty of grist for the rumour mill after just five games. Paid millions to put the puck in the net, Kessel was still looking at a donut beside his name in the goal-scoring category despite 104 minutes 35 seconds of total ice time and 24 shots.

“He’s had chances,” said Carlyle.

Even though the coach didn’t seem overly concerned, many others in the city weren’t quite so willing to cut him slack. Talk radio shows seized on the opportunity to renew the debate about Kessel’s long-term place among the team and began asking listeners whether he should be traded before his contract expires at the end of next season.

The phone lines lit up.

On and on it went. On and on it goes.

There was little or no mention of the fact that less than half of NHL teams currently have a player who has been able to score like Kessel. Still just 25, the right-handed winger is one of 16 men to average at least 30 goals over the past three seasons and six of those players have a teammate on the list (see chart below).

60 Responses to Johnston on Leafs: The Kessel conundrum

  1. mojo19 says:

    Phil Kessel is a flake. He’s quiet, fat, bald, shy, nervous, and I don’t like him.

    I want to wash the Burke taste out of my mouth. Kessel, Phaneuf, get the hell out of here. I’m so ready to strip down and start from scratch. Let’s look forward.

    The other option is go big on free agents this summer. I guess we could hold off until then to blow it up. See how it goes and see if we can’t sign some legitimate game changers.

    • blaze says:

      Are you honestly ready for easily another 5 years out of the playoffs with the incredible media drama that will take place.

      Not to mention with Torontos luck we will draft the JVRs, Hickeys, Barkers of the world 2,4 and 3rd overall pick hardly foundations of a championship team.

      Keep in mind even a dead last finish only gives you a 1 in 4 shot at the first overall. Honestly is Seth Jones even going to be better than Phaneuf? I know everyone who would comment on a hockeyboard has a prospect fetish but who’s to say he will be? Even if he is better than Phaneuf how many years will it take him to get there?

      Erik Johnson has been incredibly underwhelming as a 1st overall pick.

      • blaze says:

        I honestly felt reasonably confident Kessel could be re-signed. Now with our hot and cold fans and atrocious media I couldn’t see why he would want to stay.

        • doorman says:

          So if you are Nonis and you approach kessel and he say I don’t want to talk extention until my contract is over, how do approach that?

          • blaze says:

            Well see you are looking at this the right way. While I’m against trading Kessel having him walk would be a complete disaster that needs to be avoided.

            Phaneuf and Kessel need extensions. If they can’t then trade is the only option. Too bad we will never recoup or loses or likely even adequately replace Kessel.

            • doorman says:

              That’s why have usually stated that I have no problem with kessel, 35-40 goal scorers don’t grow on trees. However if he won’t sign, then move on and do the best we can. That means sooner then later though, IMO

    • blaze says:

      There is no garuntee of a first overall pick anymore. So let’s look at some previous top 5 selections.

      1: Taylor Hall 2: Tyler Seguin 3: Erik Gudbranson 4: Jonathan Huberdeau 5: Niño Niederetter
      After the top 2 would you honestly prefer one of those guys to Kessel?

      1: John Tavares 2: Victor Hedman 3: Matt Duchene 4: Evander Kane 5: Brayden Schenn
      Kane would look pretty good at 4, Duchene is a question mark and Schenn who knows.

      1: Steven Stamkos 2: Drew Doughty 3: Zach Bogosian 4: Alex Pietrangelo 5: Luke Schenn
      Pietrangelo is a stud, Bogosian could be someday. Luke Schen. Was supposed to be. Could it be Toronto can’t properly develop players?

      1: Patrick Kane 2: JVR 3: Kyle Turris 4: Thomas Hickey 5: Karl Alzner
      Pretty mediocre group all around outside of Kane trying to build a franchise around this group is a recipe for disaster.

      • blaze says:

        The odds of anyone doing an Edmonton style 3 1sts are very slim a 25% (at best) 3 years in a row? Not happening.

        The chances of landing lots of decent but not franchise talent are very good. People wanna nuke the team for that?? A few bad picks in the top 5 would turn a 5 year rebuild into a 10.

        Yes I’m aware we’re in the middle of a ‘failed’ rebuild but I would t were it off yet many attractive young pieces are in place.

        The pressure Toronto puts on young players is incredible and how quickly they turn. Legit question if Toronto managed to trade up and draft Tavares would he be as good as he is right now if developed by Toronto??

      • nordiques100 says:

        Huberdeau was 2011 i think. its Johansen 4th overall in 2010.

        looking at the 2013 draft, lots of confidence that mcKinnon would be say, no worse than RNH and that’s not bad, considering the need for the leafs at centre.

        or Jones for that matter on D. i know….another D, but he looks good.

        i think the leafs are better equipped to develop with Wilson gone.

        • doorman says:

          the way I see this draft is MacKinnon and Jones are compared rightly or wrongly to Crosby/Pronger. So what is the worst case scenerio you draft a slightly lesser version of either player?

        • blaze says:

          Maybe we are maybe were not. Wilson did have a knack for crushing confidence. Still the treatment of Kadri not by coaching but by fans and media was rediculous.

          Looking at his draft class and how the majority are taking time to come around Kadri was considered a bust we needed to toss aside if he didn’t start strong this season. Incredible.

        • blaze says:

          Also while I’d be nice to get McKinnon who’s to say for sure he can even adequately replace Phaneuf? And yet we’d never get a top 2 pick for Phaneuf yet people wanna trade him for a pick?

          I just don’t see how that make us better. Would say Dion for Curtis Lazar and a third/second line current NHLer make us better short or long term? No.

          • leafs_wallace93 says:

            I’m with Blaze, everyone hangs their heads over Seguin and Hamilton but it was just bad luck that those draft picks landed on good players. I don’t get why everyone is so hard for a strict rebuild. For every Edmonton and Pittsbury there are three Columbus, Florida or Phoenix.

            • blaze says:

              IMO the best looking team top to bottom right now is the St Louis Blues. This is a team that never tanked or sucked for years. Only two high picks. One Erik Johnson who they traded for a guy who is not part of the core.

              The other Pietrangelo who at number 4 was an excellent pick. The rest of the picks are mid to late first round.

              St Louis drafted well, developed well, made smart FA signings and smart sensible trades.

              The idea that scorched earth is the be all end all way to build a team is rediculous and also even less likely under the new CBA.

              • leafs_wallace93 says:

                Look at our lineup and with a real center and a goaltender all those quality spare parts we have start to matter. We have depth we need high end talent.

                That means two 1st line forwards. Trading Kessel is a step away from that. A panic trade of Kessel for the sake of change doesn’t help this organization.

              • doorman says:

                How is who Johnson was traded for not part of the Blues core of players? He was traded for Stewart(playing well) and Shattenkirk. Lqast time i checked those are core pieces, IMO, anyway.

            • blaze says:

              The Rangers never tanked they made key FA signings and smart trades. Ditto for Philly, and San Jose. Minnesota is trying to rebuild without a tank and it looks they will.

              Boston turned it around with big FA signings and good trades. The Devils are retooling on the fly and are proving doubters wrong. Tallon come into Florida and made the playoffs with trades and castoffs.

              Edmonton hasn’t accomplished one single thing yet. Chicago complemented their top picks with big trades and got lucky with later round picks. Pittsburgh got Crosby in a lottery.

              Just the fact that tanking has become synonymous with building through the draft is nonsensical. It’s hardly fail proof.

              Having no desire to tank doesn’t mean I don’t believe in keeping draft picks and developing our prospects properly.

  2. doorman says:

    I am gonna be a good HTR friend and leave the washing Burke outta your mouth comment alone, lol

  3. blaze says:

    Say the Leafs do decide to move Kessel. So first of all do you wait to the deadline or the offseason? Secondly how exactly do you shop Kessel? Something impossible to do quietly. And once you decide to shop him you know he ain’t coming back and other teams will know it. It will be a media circus bigger than Luongo.

    The return Columbus got on Rick Nash was pathetic. A return like that for Toronto would ensure mediocrity for years to come.

    So knowing Kessel has the ability to walk after next season who gives up major long term pieces in return?? This is a terrible situation for the Leafs to be in and though blame falls on Burke you can blame us the fans and the media for trying to push out the best Leaf since Sundin left. Typical of Leaf Nation.

    • lafleur10 says:

      you don’t have to wory about that, as scott howson is not your gm! lol however avoid dealing with sather and the rangers because sather would rape nonis(like he’s done to many,many ) gm’s and if you dealt with that’s what you’d get .

  4. blaze says:

    “Paid millions to put the puck in the net, Kessel was still looking at a donut beside his name in the goal-scoring category despite 104 minutes 35 seconds of total ice time and 24 shots.”

    Honestly its shit like this that really grinds my gears. Kessel I thought had played quite well the last few games yet expect articles like this 5 (!!!) games into the season.

    • doorman says:

      Ya he has actually played fairly well this year and is skating more then in the past. I don’t know I think you have to shop him now to the deadline….IMO. And I think teams will start calling Nonis asking, as they must no how fans are reacting. that being said what do you realistically look to get for him, where do you see calling to make an offer on him?

    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      What do you expect them to write? I’m not being an ass, but the statement is true. I understand your frustration ay some of the things written in the Toronto media, but if Kessel scores every six games(which is now done and he hasn’t), he would be on pace for a 14 goal season. There is no way you could say that is good enough for Kessel. The statment says he has gotten ice time and opportunity, but hasn’t buried the puck yet. I don’t see that as harsh.
      If they were questioning his character and dedication at this point (6 games in), I get how that might effect a player and I would say “way too early for that” but if this article bothers Kessel, then he shouldn’t play in a big market and probably will not re-sign here

  5. blaze says:

    Assuming Kessel won’t stay and he is traded theres not much that looks appealing out there. The only thing I could think about is the Islanders.

    To NYI: Kessel, Bozak, Komisarek

    To TOR: Strome, Niederetter, 1st

    Komisarek actually fits nicely in Long Island considering after Streit no one makes more than 1.5 mil on the backend the money isn’t an issue for a year. Should be a cheap re-sign. Benefit to Toronto is cap space, they do however lose their best defensive defenseman (seriously).

    Bozak goes so they can have a Bozak-Kessel duo on the second line. Make Strome expendable, NYI competes for the playoffs now and gives NYI an interesting angle to re-sign Kessel. They get a shot to re-sign Bozak this offseason and gives them a barometer on the likeliness of re-signing Kessel.

    As big as a return as I could realistically see for Kessel. Still short term and probably even long term it’s a downgrade. But if re-signing him is unlikely it gives Toronto a shot a recouping some losses.

    • doorman says:

      Wow I would do cartwheels if we got something like that. I would do that trade for Strome & the 1st…lol. I had thought about Clb. they need an attraction and Kessel is a electrifying player. I would do Kessel, Bozak for Jenner, Erixon and a 2nd even.

      • blaze says:

        Sorry not to be rude since you have excellent input but I hate that Columbus trade. Jenner looks like a third line center, Erixxon looks like a bust and a 2nd is garbage. Kessel is a world class player despite the hate.

        Even my deal. Strome right off the get go is a third line center. Unknown but unlikely he produce more offense then Kadri and so he fights with Grabo and Kadri for ice time. For a few years anyways Strome is a third line center.

        Assuming Niederetter doesn’t bust he isnt better than Lupul or JVR. So at best with no other moves hes fighting MacArthur, Kulemin, Frattin, potential FAs (Perry?) our own first round pick (Drouin?) for top 6 time on the wing.

        Their first would not be under 10 after acquiring those players so your looking at Curtis Lazar type pick, likely third line center. We’re giving up one of the top first line snipers in the world for that. Seems good at first but in reality not so much.

        • doorman says:

          no offense taken, i adnmit i think more highly of Jenner and that 2nd is like a late first. Erixon I admit i only go by what others have said. I guess I just don’t see the Isles looking at moving those guys, I do agree that kessel makes there pick 10-18 for sure. But most consider Strome a gem.

          • blaze says:

            Strome has nice potential for sure but it’s just that potential. If you want to make the Toronto Maple Leafs first line your second line then you gotta give to get. A Tavares line leading the way for a Kessel line to get less coverage is a fantastic one two punch comparable or better than many other top teams.

  6. TimTheBone says:

    Not trying to cause any Shit or anything… But i was just wondering…..

    With all the talk you leaf fans had last year about drafting galchenyuk, are you pissed, or perhsps just indifferent aboit the fact that montreal got him?…. Was just curious..

    • 93killer93 says:

      At this point indifferent. Just because it’s still early. However I will say he’s really the only player in that draft that I really wanted. When we took Rielly over Grigorenko and Forsberg, I wasn’t mad because I figured they thought Rielly was going to be a better player and it’s not like any of the forwards still available were going to step in right away and carry the team. I still would have preferred it if he went to another team, but I’ve been really impressed with Rielly so I really can’t complain right now.

    • toronto77 says:

      I don’t really care that montreal grabbed him, much like Blaze, I would have preferred him over Rielly. With Gardiner on the team there is really no need for Rielly, but it never hurts to have too much offence on defence even though Rielly is likely to be better player than Gardiner, he still wasn’t our biggest need.

      We could have very easily used our own pick to grab Galchenyuk( a no.1 centre that we desperately need)… that we didn’t grab him, we are going to have to trade half the farm to acquire a player like him.

    • lafleur10 says:

      tim he’s the player i wanted us to draft and wanted him really bad and i called it that we’d draft him ……and so far 5 points in 5 games he’s everything i thought he’d be in 2-3 he’ll be our top line center and a star and an 80 point player and will be better than yakupov he was the best player in the draft! what are your thoughts?
      also can’t wait to see all of the young guys from that draft making our team plus kristo,beaulieu,tinrdi man we’re going to be a scary good team down the road ……i could see winning another cup eventually!

      • lafleur10 says:

        also tim i fogot to mention gallagher to man he’s looking like he’s going to be a really good playyer as well the chemistry between and galchenyuk is amazing.Having prust mentor them is a great move to allowing them to play there game without getting intimidated or having teams cheap shot them will only benefit us down the road. charles hudon ,and brady vail and going to be very important player as well 1 man just think we have our franchise goaltender in price,our franchise defnceman signed and out future top line star in galchenyuk! those are pieces that teams,that win the stanley cup have!

    • doorman says:

      When the habs got galy I was of two different mindsets. I hate the Habs, but want to see a healthy rivalry, so was glad they got a good player. When the leafs drafted Rielly I was relieved as he along with galy were the two i was looking for the Leafs to draft. Ya Rielly was hurt but the more I read about this kid and saw footage the more I was impressed.

  7. 93killer93 says:

    Wallace pretty much said everything I was going to. Columbus is the perfect example. They have essentially been tanking since they came into the league. Over the last 13 years they have picked outside the top 10 only 1 time. Not including the pick they traded to Philly(8th overall) they’ve had 12 1st rounders. 8 of those were in the top 6, one was 7th overall and 2 were 8th overall. The idea of tanking is a lot better than the actuality of it.

    I’m all for trading non core players for picks/prospects. But I don’t see how trading Kessel and Phaneuf would be beneficial to this team. The only way I trade either of them is if they don’t plan on re-signing. If so I do it at the draft, like the Penguins did with Staal. If teams like Philly or Washington end up out of the playoffs they could be desperate to make a huge move.

  8. toronto77 says:

    I seriously doubt Kessel will want to resign here, if we continue to struggle. Why the hell would he??

    In order to keep Kessel here and make the team better, we desperately need to make another Kessel type trade. For example, what would it take to get Grandlund out of Minnesota?

    maybe trade Kessel for Grandlund.

    Minnesota is on the cusp of becoming a playoff contender for years to come and I am sure Kessel would love to play close to his home town and Minnesota will be a really good team in a quiet market. Minnesota is almost perfect for Kessel right now.

    Then Kadri can replace Kessel on the top line. Obviously Kadri isn’t as good as Kessel, but he doesn’t have to be, if Grandlund is the no.1 centre.


    trade Kadri and Gardiner for Grandlund.

    JVR – Grandlund – Kessel would look amazing for years to come.

    Me thinks Grandlund is absolutely untouchable!

    Koivu will be 30 this year and you have to start to wonder where does he fit into their future. Grandlund will probably be way better than Koivu when he reaches his prime, and Minnesota would be drooling of a 1-2 punch at centre with Grandlund and Coyle.

    if minny does trade Grandlund for Kadri and Gardiner, they get a great top line paring with Kadri and Parise on the wings, and will be ABSOLUTELY set with defence for the future with Suter, Gardiner, Dumba and Brodin!

    even if Toronto over pays and Minnesota completely rips Toronto off, I still doubt Minnesota moves Grandlund. This guy is there future and the moment they trade him they will be trying to replace him, look how long Toronto has been trying to replace Sundin!!!

    Grandlund is just an example, but he is the type of player we need to acquire. Gardiner would be a huge loss but I think Rielly makes Gardinder expendable.

    at the deadline trade Kadri and Gardiner for Grandlund, trade grabovski for a 1st and draft a centremen in the 15th to 30th range in a deep centremen draft, and bottom out to select Monohan.

    next season

    Lupul – Grandlund – Kessel
    JVR – Monohan – Kulemin

    Top 6 problem solved!! grow some balls!

  9. mojo19 says:

    This is to blaze, the-word, etc.

    I know that prospects don’t always pan out and that trying to finish low doesn’t mean finishing low, and finishing low doesn’t mean drafting can’t-miss prospects. I know all the counter arguments. And yet, I still long for a proper rebuild. Just for once, let’s try it. Let’s load up on prospects, ice a team doomed to fail spectacularly, and hope for the best. The alternative hasn’t worked out well. And I only want to do this for a year or two, get a couple of prospects along the way and start it up again.

    • nordiques100 says:

      The team isn’t just going to roll over and die so where they finish in the standings is, well, where they finish. It could be last, it could be 10th last, they could be in the playoffs. That’s how it goes with the Leafs.

      But i agree, the key is to not be trading their 1st rounders. If they manage that for a long stretch, then that’s a step in the right direction.

      That’s been the issue, they keep moving their 1sts. 1991 turned into Nieds, 1993 pick Kenny Jonsson before he ever established himself, 1996 was Zubrus, 1997 was Luongo, 2000’s brad boyes never stepped foot as a Leaf, 2003, 2004, 2005’s Rask was gone like Boyes, 2007 was the infamous Toskala trade, 2008, Schenn already gone, 2010/11 was of course the Boston deal.

      Now, if you are 21 years in the playoffs and counting like Detroit and draft extremely well late rounds, then ya, trading 1st rounders is palatable. But the Leafs are not that.

      So thats how they have to be patient. Its a given not all picks will work out, but you have to give yourself a chance. Toronto never gives itself any chance.

      But I think we’re on the right path to how we develop prospects. Reilly being sent down was a great move. Biggs and Percy are not being rushed. Kadri was brought along slowly and the results are coming. Same with Frattin.

      Developing them is the key here. If they do that better than they have the last 20 years, then they have a chance to definitely improve.

      • blaze says:

        Well said nordiques. When I argue against blowing the team up I by no means am against proper development. There have been improvements under Burke post Kessel trade in development and hanging on to guys. Kadri couldve been moved many times but is looking to be worth the wait right now.

        As long as the keep their first round pick and continue to make trades that benefit the long term I will be pleased. The only way I trade a core guy like Kessel or Phaneuf is if they are unlikely to re-sign.

        This team could get a top 5 without blowing anything up so why worry. Stay the hell away from Luongo and that still god awful contract. Run with Reimer straight out. It seems clear Scrivens will be a back up or at best platoon type goalie. Give Reimer the full year to sink it swim.

        If it isn’t working just selling off non core depth would be enough to sink the Leafs to a top pick. Trade off a MacArthur, Franson, Liles etc. Gutting the D alone would guarantee a poor finish. Grab your top pick and make serious runs at quality FAs. Continue with the long term in mind. Grab a goalie next off season when Luongo isnt the main option.

        • doorman says:

          We can’t trade Franson, we have no other dman besdies gardiner who can hit the net with a shot from the point, lol, just saying.

          • blaze says:

            Dion gets that wrap and its just assumed it’s true. It’s not, behind the net is a good site for a detailed shot breakdown.

            Dion leads to the team this year in percentage of shots that hit the net. Last season only Liles and Gunnarson hit at a slightly higher percentage. Franson was a little behind and Gardiner actually was quite a bit behind possibly skewed do to his use of the slap pass.

            Dion has almost double the amount of shots of any other dman on the team usually so people assume he misses more often which just isnt true.

            Also my original point you wanna tank gut the D and watch Reimer get lit up.

            • realistic_leafs_fan says:

              I’m sure Reimer would appreciate
              If we want to ruin Reimer, being even worse defensively might do it.

              • blaze says:

                I’m not necessarily saying its the right move just saying you don’t need to get rid of Phaneuf or Kessel to tank which is going to affect Reimer anyways.

                Trade off non core members will have the same result.

                • realistic_leafs_fan says:

                  At this point, I would keep Phaneuf. I believe he will re-sign and likely will accept less than he makes now. He could continue to be a good piece, but at a good price.

    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      Here’s the problem, as I see it, with the “proper rebuild” as you have mentioned mojo. You’re a smart hockey guy and I respect that.
      That said, the League would not look kindly on the Leafs, with all their money, icing a team that is “doomed to fail spectacularily”, if that means signing cheap guys without the intent to try and win.
      If you mean playing those prospects we have “loaded” up on, you risk ruining their development by placing them in an environment that they have no chance to succeed. Losing all the time takes a toll on young players and the constant bashing of their development, that would ultimately happen in Toronto, could destroy what was once a great prospect(s).
      I agree with keeping our high draft pics and not trading them away, but “tank nation” to build a winner is more a desperation move than a few more good trades and signings would be.IMO

      • JoelLeafs says:

        Also, realistically we would have to tank for a while. I mean, even if we sold off all non core assets and pick up an extra 3 1st (unlikely). In all likelihood that would give us maybe 1 roster player over the next few years, two if we’re lucky? We’d have to continue to tank and continue to stockpile picks for years to end up with a talent pool similar to what the pens or hawks had for their cup runs. Hell, we can criticize their management all we want, but the Islanders have been a shit team since I started watching hockey, where is their cup? Since 2000 they have drafted the following highly toted prospects in the first round:

        DiPietro – 1st, we all know how well that went
        Torres – 5th, he certainly panned out for them..
        Bergenheim, 22nd, Who?
        Nilsson – 15th, all their busts seem to have stints in Edmonton… odd
        Nokelainen – 16th, bust
        O’Marra – 15th, hasn’t played a full season
        Okposo – 7th, coming along, maybe a 25-25 guy one day
        Baily – 9th, nothing special
        Tavares – 1st, Tavares
        de Haan – 12th, played 1 NHL game, but still early
        Niederreiter – 5th, too early to tell, but doesn’t look like anything special
        Nelson – 30th, too early to tell
        Strome – 5th, too early to tell
        Reinhart – 4th, too early to tell

        Over half a dozen top 10 picks, 5 of which were in the top 5 and all they really have to show for it is Tavares, Okposo and a few unprovens.

        We need to think like Detroit, attract a great scouting staff, let them do their jobs, go after good young FAs, and stop trading away and rushing our picks/prospects.

        I think everyone needs to calm down a bit and let the team develop naturally.

  10. doorman says:

    Again though, if Kessel will not resign he needs to be traded, sooner than later. I am one of the few who have not had a bad word to say about the deal. I never thought adding a player of his calibre would have us go backwards 5 draft spots.That being said he can not be lost for nothing that will cripple this franchise, IMO. I have only one thing to say, I do NOT care where we finish as long as these kids get to play and play hard. If they gove a solid effort and we draft 12th, i am fine with that as much as if we draft say 2nd. Only by letting them play and develop will we know what we have and that hey can become a team. just my two cents.

  11. mojo19 says:

    Some valid points, guys. I’m going to take off from what Nords has said and what realistic-Leafs and the rest of you seem to agree with.

    As I mentioned in my original post – trying to finish low doesn’t necessarily mean finishing low. That’s fine. Like Nords said, suppose we finish 10th or 11th, as long as we keep our 1st round pick and continue to develop patiently, we’ll be in good shape.

    Here’s why I still feel we should “blow it up” so to speak, or at least see if we can get a legitimate return for Kessel and Phaneuf, at least shop them around. In my opinion, we are at least 4-5 years away, if we are patient and build well by bringing in prospects and using our now great farm system to bring these guys along at a proper pace.

    Not saying Dion and Kessel won’t still be effective and valuable pieces 4-5 years down the line, but I would rather roll the dice on a couple can’t miss prospects/young players/additional 1st round picks.

    If you disagree with me it’s because you feel that the current state of the team is in better shape then I see it, and you haven’t lost faith like I have. I’ve joined LN91 and Leafy as anti-this current team.

    I think if I could get a really good run from this core of players they could sway me, but I just haven’t warmed up to these guys. And the guys I have warmed up to – Kulemin, Kessel, Dion, etc. I’m soured on now. I see them as losers. None of these guys has a personality at all (Kuley is foreign, gets a break). But seriously we need some legitimate character on this team, we’re a bunch of flakes.

    Nice game last night by Frat-house.

    • blaze says:

      I see your angle on why to blow up and don’t totally disagree. I just think these guys would do very well in more of a support role. I think it’s a very very big gamble to expect to get better pieces than Kessel and Phaneuf.

      And I don’t think Phaneuf is much of a flake, hard to really argue either way but I’m sure he wants to win. However grabbing one semi vet in his prime guy who absolutely hates losing up front would go a long way. The guy that comes to mind is Toews but that would never happen. Trying to find that in the draft is a crapshoot as well though. Not to mention the young guys need and older voice that actually know what it takes to win a Cup.

  12. mojo19 says:

    I also don’t think Phaneuf and Kessel are irreplaceable.

    The Bruins moved Thornton and all they have left is Ferrence (flipped for Primeau and Stuart since the trade). But it enabled them to sign Zdeno Chara with the freed up cap space. They got lucky winning the Chara sweeps, but they paid him $7.8 million, which at the time was actually league maximum because of the $39 million cap. The Bruins don’t win the Cup if they don’t trade Joe Thornton. It’s kind of funny, but he was replaced by Chara and it changed the complexion of the team.

    I really feel a change in the face of the team would be huge. Burke’s reign of terror is over, let’s get his quiet, shy loser’s off the team. These guys are dopey, let’s just get some character guys. I’ve heard too many stories of “what Dion is like” to ignore them. I might be wrong, but I don’t think he’s got it. He’s a bad captain, there I said it.

    • blaze says:

      Well that’s the best argument I’ve heard yet. I’ll have to agree to disagree, I’m not ready to give up on either of them yet I just want to add more core pieces. Still say where youre coming from and you could be right about Dion, it’s hard for sure.

      • JoelLeafs says:

        The Thorton argument is a good one, but I’m a bit put off by the last bit. Personal anecdotes about a player generally amount to nothing more than gossip, especially when compared to his performance on the ice.

        The only rebuttal I would offer for the Bruins argument is that Thorton is still a dominant player like like 7 years later. You can’t rewrite history, and even though Chara was a key component of their cup win, you can’t say they wouldn’t have won one had things been different. If they had lost the Chara sweepstakes where would they be? I’m all for making big moves, but you always take a risk moving top players. Let’s face it, the Bruins got fleeced in that trade, but it did give them the room they needed to change the team up. If the leafs make a similar move and don’t get as lucky, things could stay the course off the rails.

        • mojo19 says:

          You’re right Joel. Both of you actually.

          There are no guarantee’s with any system of rebuilding. There are precedents of success and failure for all model’s of rebuilding in sports.

          I guess we will have to agree to disagree here. And like I said, one good playoff run with Kess and Dion at the helm and I will warm up to them, but as of right now I’m not impressed with their personalities and I’m just not a fan. Can’t help that.

          As for the personal stuff with Dion, you can put some clues together from some of Luke Schenn’s comments last year and the ongoing rumours that come up suggesting he’s not a great captain in the room. However, when a team is losing there is always tension in a dressing room which can create this perception as well. Add Getzlaf up front and Backstrom between the pipes and all the sudden Dion is great in the room. I think winning would fix a lot of problems.

          • JoelLeafs says:

            Oh… I was hoping for a slap fest.

            I think we could boil all rational sports analysis down to “we don’t really know, it seems pretty random”.

            Furthermore, the leagues seem to try to make that randomness more consistent by imposing salary caps, drug testing, how drafts work, seeding, how free agency works, rule changes, and on and on ad infinitum. In the end, even the most informed, insightful, logical, and critical thinking hockey analyst can’t see the future.

            The process of guessing and arguing about our guesses can be pretty fun, though. Hence, ya know, this whole site.

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