Should the Leafs keep Kessel long term?

Asked about his expectations for a 48-game season, he added: “I don’t know. Have the best year possible. Do whatever I can to help this team win.”

This is obviously going to be an interesting year for Kessel for at least three main reasons.

No. 1 will be his relationship with new coach Randy Carlyle, who is notoriously tough on players who cheat in their defensive play.

No. 2 is if Kessel can keep producing at what was far and away a career-best rate or if he settles back into the 65-point region.

And No. 3 is that this will be the second last year of the five-year contract Brian Burke signed him to back in the fall of 2009.

A great season on the ice for the Leafs and under Carlyle’s system, including a playoff berth, and you can presume the contract extensions talks will begin to start. Kessel can re-sign up to an eight-year deal beginning on July 1, less than sixth months from now, and that figures to be one of the franchise’s biggest storylines in that timeframe.

Given the paucity of free agent talent available every year and his offensive production (with as many goals as all but seven others leaguewide the last four years), Kessel would likely command a long-term deal in the $7.5-million a season range.

25 Responses to Should the Leafs keep Kessel long term?

  1. doorman says:

    I think if Nonis and kessel have the type of replationship Nonis claims, this will be Carlyes call if he is the long term coach. Kessel has a NTC kick in after this season. So if they are gonna deal him, well it is soon over possibly never.

  2. leafs_wallace93 says:

    Just saw TSN ranked Kessel 47th in their top 50 active players. Kessel out produced 45 over players on that list and he’s 47th? If he was in any other jersey he’d get the recognition he deserved but TSN is too busy running Kessel in the ground every game he doesn’t get a hat trick.

    Trade Kessel? You’re never going to get the value Kessel brings back for him, no is ever going to trade a 1st overall pick for him. I suggest Leaf Nation not look a gift horse in the mouth and appreciate that we had the good fortune to get the superstar end of the Kessel trade.

    • nordiques100 says:

      If the list was pertaining to the top 50 goal scorers in the NHL, Kessel is in the top 10, arguably top 5 (though not yet a 40 goal man). But its about being an all around player.

      Its not just about points. Elias who finished 10th and Whitney 13th didn’t crack the top 50. Should they too be ranked in the top 20? Doubtful.

      Also, the list had many defenceman. it was not broken down by position so there will be cases where a 40 point player outranks a 70-80 point player. But again, its not about points.

      You had to watch the show they had on it last night to get the gist of their rankings. They really base on all around play, what a player can do in all 3 zones, what they bring to their teams and making them better, what they’ve done in the past/through their career along with what they can bring now/going forward, how good they are not only offensively but defensively, other intangibles they bring like toughness, leadership, etc.

      This is why Datsyuk is 5th and Toews is 6th overall. they bring all those things to the table and then some. They’re incredible players.

      and keep in mind, last year Kessel wasn’t even ranked, so he is actually moving up in the standings.

      3 amazing players didnt make it. Getzlaf, Sharp and Eriksson. The NHL is a deep league. There are 30 teams. As bad as Toronto was last year, to their credit, they have a top 50 player according to TSN.

      Burke is gone, so you sort of have to check the ultra sensitive bone in your body at the door. Its a new era here.

      • leafs_wallace93 says:

        I’m sorry what does Claude Giroux do other than put up points? He’s number 3. I don’t take issue with Giroux spot because he can make his own space, play, ect… just like Kessel but one is 47 and the other is 3rd.

        Basically TSN is saying if the Leafs are to trade Kessel straight up for Dustin Brown then LA is taking the Leafs to the cleaners with their list which is laughable. Brown is an above average plug on a team that is carried by their blueline and keeper.

        Imagine all 50 players were UFAs today, I bet Kessel demands a better contract than half that list what does that say about his talent.

        • mojo19 says:

          I agree with both of you. One, Phil Kessel is an elite goal scorer. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but not many players have scored 30+ goals in each of the last 4 seasons. That is impressive, and he’s only 25.

          On the flip side, there are some holes in his game. Now Wallace, Claude Giroux you’re undervaluing. He’s so dynamic and he takes control of a game like few others. I thought 3rd overall was high for him too, maybe in the 6-10 range would’ve been better.

          I was actually about to say that I would put Kessel in the 30-40 range, but after looking at the list there’s really not many guys I would bump behind Kessel. I could maybe see him move up by 3 or 4 spots but that’s about it.

          • JoelLeafs says:

            I’m going to leave this hornets nest alone other than to say that Kessel plays on a team with a mediocre D, nothing in net, and he got most of his goals with fucking Bozak in the middle. Wallace has a point about the jersey he wears, but it may go further than TSN being TSN.

  3. It’s says more about teams willing to spend for players who can put up points and score goals for them. No offense, but there was a huge difference between Giroux and Kessel last year. If the flyers came banging on your door last year, you’d shove kessel at them, then line the rest of your players up and ask “Who else do you want?” I’m not saying he’s going to put up those numbers again, or perform as well, but going by last years performance, he was ranked miles ahead of Kessel.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      I’m not saying Kessel should be a top five on the list, I’m saying if Kessel is one dimensional then so is Giroux. I get Giroux has more upside and puts up better numbers.

      My opinion is Kessel should have been top twenty. Again, I’m fine with Giroux at 3.

      Again, no one can’t tell me that Dustin Brown is a better talent than Kessel, that’s absurd.

  4. There were trade rumors all season about Dustin Brown, and then he started producing in more ways than 1. He was physical, he was scoring, he was playing great hockey. I don’t consider him an above average plug, but I do think that the hype he gets has a lot to do with an 8th seed LA team going deep in the playoffs and winning the cup. If I were starting a team today, I’d take Kessel hands down.

    • mojo19 says:

      It’s true, Dustin Brown had one hot playoff and now he’s the greatest American hero of all time. It is a bit much.

      Even Mike Richards hasn’t really had a great season in a few years. He was a solid 2nd line centre on a cup winning team, now he’s getting the Ryan Kesler treatment – which is a glorified 2nd line centre status.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      Whatever, Colton Orr is a physical player, should he be in the top 100 in the NHL? That’s what plugs do, they play physical or defensively sound or kill penalties ect… players with limited skill (or limited talent) are role players. Brown is just a a role player with a bit (I stress a bit) of offensive upside.

  5. mojo19 says:

    Also Erik Karlsson is #11 …..

    What? He was brutal in the playoffs against the Rangers. Yes he had one outstanding offensive season, but this goes to Wallace’s point about Kessel. And, no offence Wallace but I think Karlsson is a better example of this list being unreliable than Claude Giroux, who’s skill set speaks for itself.

    Look at some of the names below Karlsson – Chara, Doughty, Pietrangelo, Duncan Keith, one could argue that Letang is a better player overall, because he’s not just skilled but scrappy.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      OFFESNSE TAKEN…. oh wait that’s what ‘the_word’ would say….

      I don’t mean to take a issue with this but I approach it as would I trade Kessel (team positional needs aside) for a Jamie Benn, Karlsson, Dustin Brown? My answer is no, especially given Karlsson is going to get exposed like Mike Green has.

      I said that I’m ok with Giroux at 3. Sure he should be 6-10 like you said but he’s top ten. Kessel is top 25 IMO.

      When you look at the pressure of the market of Toronto, what little Kessel has to play with and his ability to rush, hell he’s made Bozak an NHL caliber center and Lupul an all star caliber player, he’s a stud.

      But he’s not 6’5, Canadian and he doesn’t give a great soundbite.

      • mojo19 says:

        You make a compelling argument. I can’t help but wonder if Marc Savard had stayed healthy and he and Kessel were still together for the past 3 years in an alternate universe, and Kessel was coming off a couple 40+ goal seasons, then how hight would he be? Same exact player in a different situation.

  6. mojo19 says:

    So anyway’s, if the argument against Phil Kessel is that he’s one-dimensional, then how do you account for Joe Thornton being so low at 40?

    Joe Thornton is not only the most consistent scorer in the NHL of the last 2 decades but he’s an excellent defensive centre as well. At 6’4″ 235 lbs. the man is a beast. And he hasn’t seen his production drop to below 70 points in a season since 2002 (68 pts.)

    He was 12th in scoring last season, and he’s one of a handful of guys who you can count on to be up there year in, year out. He’s a lot like Mats Sundin actually, except that he gets way more assists and way less goals. But in terms of effectiveness and consistency I think its a good example.

    Anyway’s I don’t know how you don’t list him in the top 20 or 25.

  7. doorman says:

    Bottom line is this to me,if Kessel isn’t willing to sign or discuss an extention, then Nonis has to explore his options. Selling the farm for Lou to keep Phil just doesnt sit well with me, at all. We need to build and build right, hopefully Lupul will wanna stay and Phil will follow suit. We need a good effort night in and night out from this team and a good draft haul again. Have a plan and stick with it.

  8. leafs_wallace93 says:

    The list thing kind of hammers home that the issue that since the trade that Kessel has been treated as a disposable talent. If he doesn’t want to resign then trade him, if he does he certainly a cornerstone.

    Given that he treated as disposable (despite his performance) I don’t see the Leafs getting that key piece for to build the future via trading Kessel.

    I’d like to see him resign. Even if we continue to lose, he’s been the most entertaining Leaf to watch since Dougie.

    • doorman says:

      I like Kessel for the record and am one of the few who have no problem with how he was aquired. I never expected the team to go that much fUrther back. I also do not see him as disposable, I however do not wanna see him walk for nothing either, if he is not looking to resign. He is an elite goal scorer and I would prefer an extention.

    • 93killer93 says:

      He’s a major piece moving forward. But we can’t afford to let him walk. Hopefully he will resign.

      • JoelLeafs says:

        If I’m him and not a leafs fan, I’d probably bounce. Weather in Toronto sucks… though he has to get his fair share of tail being the star in a place like To.

        He’s likely worth overpaying to keep. He makes everyone around him much better and is still very young. Plus he seems to do okay in Toronto and ignore most of the media BS thrown at him. He’ll be what, 27 when his contract is up.

  9. nordiques100 says:

    Lombardi traded to Phoenix for a conditional pick.

    Good move to free cap space for a player who was likely not going to be a part of the team’s present or future.

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