Leafs move to front of line for Kessel


Brian Burke is American, but seems to have adopted that old Royal Canadian Mounted Police credo to always get your man.The Maple Leafs general manager’s dogged pursuit of Phil Kessel that began in June has intensifed to where Toronto now is the leading candidate to land the Boston Bruins winger, through trade rather than a restricted free agent signing.

While Kessel’s agent, Wade Arnott, yesterday denied reports in the Boston media that the door is closed on re-signing there, the Bruins’ dicey salary cap situation, its willingness to deal Kessel at the draft to the Leafs and, more recently in talks with Toronto, Nashville and the Rangers likely means he is moving.


“There has been more discussion, but nothing has changed,” Burke said. “We just can’t send him an offer sheet. He has to sign it. No one has all the cards in this game except the agent.”

As for making a trade to try and fast-track the Leafs’ recovery, Burke said: “I have no problem trying to hit home runs.”


84 Responses to Leafs move to front of line for Kessel

  1. mojo19 says:

    Carey Price is that kid who is gonna back up Halak this year.

  2. mojo19 says:

    You can actually offer him up to $6 million before the compensation goes up from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd.

    So ya, I agree with you completely. I'd offer him a little more money and go with the offer sheet. 2 first rounders is too much for sure.

    But 1 first rounder is a great deal because our first rounder is probably going to be between 12 to 18 overall and you're not going to draft a Phil Kessel calibre guy with one of those picks.

  3. mojo19 says:

    word check your PM's

  4. mojo19 says:

    wait nevermind it didnt work

  5. AntropovCrapIToldYou says:

    Your all wrong. Price is getting 40 wins this year and will fight for the mvp. This is his break out year. Last year was bad luck.

    The Habs offence will fly with the new forwards; and look for Gomez to get 90 points easy. Gill is way better than Komisissy. I never did like him, I'm glad he's gone to the Laughs. I pick the Laughs to miss the playoffs and finish last; but the Habs will win the northeast.

  6. AntropovCrapIToldYou says:

    That's only because the Habs got the best 1-2 punch in hockey. Halak is an all star on any other team. When you got a great goalie like Price then he's a back up.

  7. AntropovCrapIToldYou says:

    You should care about him because he's only the best goalie talent out junior since many years. Leafs fans are not objective and jelous.

  8. mojo19 says:

    As far as i can tell he plays ball hockey in North Bay but is not a real hockey player. I looked up his name on google. There are no reports about the Leafs signing him, he's just a regular guy.

  9. cam7777 says:

    Spector is reporting this because ESPN reported it.  ESPN has been about as reliable as Eklund the last few weeks, so I don't put much stock in this rumored offer of two 1st round picks.  To me, that sounds like Chiarelli using the media to make it clear to Burke what he wants from the trade.

    If anything, Kessel's value is less than the offer sheet compensation, if you ask me.  This is a game of chicken right now, and Chiarelli has to know that post October 1st, Kessel is gone to whichever team he feels like signing an offer sheet with (and he obviously favors the leafs). 

    Unless Chiarelli dumps some significant salary, then Burke has all the power in these negotiations.  I really don't see how Chiarelli can match an offer sheet after October 1st without suffering consequences from the league, even if Kessel is injured.

    Also, I really can't understand why Chiarelli would want two 1st round picks rather than players/prospects that are ready to go right now, or very soon.  Those picks will be useless to him for a long time.  He won't be able to trade them for NHL players next season because of his cap restraints (like the 1st rounder for Tanguay deal MTL did last year).  And if he just uses them to add to his already stocked cupboard, his already capable prospects are going to grow frustrated.  Not to mention, this would in no way directly benefit the team's efforts to win a Cup now.

    At this point :

    1st round pick 2011, Mikhail Stefanovich, 2nd round pick 2010


    Phil Kessel

    That's still more than Kessel's worth given Boston's situation (again, my opinion only), but at least Stefanovich has a shot at playing for the squad next year when they will undoubtedly have to let higher end talent walk.

    A deal involving Ian White might also prove beneficial:

    Ian White, 1st round pick 2011, 4th round pick 2010

  10. leafy says:

    I agree, the Leafs have to be very careful not to overpay for Kessel.

    If you look at history, the Leafs have gotten into huge trouble trying to speed up the rebuilding, only to find they were back where they started, or worse off.

    Wendel Clark and Matthieu Schneider for Kenny Johnson and a 1st pick (Roberto Luongo).  Leaf fans celebrated after that trade. We now know it was a totally stupid trade.

    Ditto the trade of Tom Kurvers for a 1st pick (Scott Niedermayer). Yeah what a great trade that was.

    Some teams never learn.

  11. mojo19 says:

    Leafy, trading picks for veterans to help the team now is one thing, but giving up a first round pick for a guy who is 21 who can be a huge part of this team long term makes perfect sense.

    Like I said before, The Leafs will finish middle of the pack this year and draft between 12 and 18 overall. You're not going to draft a Phil Kessel calibre guy with that pick, no chance. So would you rather a much lesser player just because he's 3 years younger? No.

  12. the_word says:

    Whatever, I don't care about the AHL.

  13. the_word says:

    Yeah, turn the clock back to 06 when he was last relevant, I'm so jealous.

  14. the_word says:

    Meh, old system, we could throw money at our problems.

  15. mojo19 says:

    Gustavsson is better.

  16. cam7777 says:

    There's no telling where that pick will be.  It could easily be top 5 again, as easily as it could be middle of the pack.  Still, if it were just next year's first round pick, that would be one thing.  Throwing in the following year's pick is quite another.  Boston sheds a player they don't need, and can't afford, and end up with a deep pool of 1st round picks for the long haul.  Eventually that trade is coming back to bite us in the ass.

    I agree in principle that Kessel is young, so it should negate some of the anxiety about trading away picks, but this has less to do with Kessel's value as it does with the situation.  There is no reason to pay that absurd price.  Just like with Heatley, the price will come down if Burke waits it out.  The only other option for Boston is to trade away other good assets (Bergeron, Rask, Wheeler, Koabsew) for nothing – and even in those deals, he might have to throw away picks just to find takers.  Or, he could let Kessel go for a 1st, 2nd and 3rd. 

    The price will come down, no hurry.

  17. the_word says:

    HTR hates me getting mail for some reason, perhaps its because I'm always so friendly.

  18. the_word says:

    I think you put more thought into these deals then the actual GMs.

  19. KingCanada says:

    Dont forget the Grabovski trade!  We essentially got him for a 2nd round pick which is very fair if u ask me.

  20. the_word says:

    I'm 6' 165 lbs, can I be an enforcer for the Habs?

  21. KingCanada says:

    Ya u dont know what your talking about buddy.  Were mostly all Leaf fans here and have watched Hal Gill play quite a bit.  He is quite slow and is only useful in the blue paint in front of Price.  Have fun with that…

  22. KingCanada says:

    Giguere / Hiller > Price / Halak

  23. KingCanada says:

    Wow wrong again, the correct answer is Steve Mason!  idiot..did Carey win the Calder??  no thats right he didnt…thats too bad..

    Carey Price first year:  GGA 2.55   save% 0.920   3 SO
    Steve Mason first year:   GGA 2.29   save% 0.916  10 SO

    And Mason accomplished this on a worse team IMO

    Whose the retard now?

  24. bbruins37 says:

    lol its a lock. arguably the best team in the league against a bunch of mediocre teams. they are better prepared than anyone to take on injuries with their depth.

  25. KingCanada says:

    Nah I dont think thats considered tampering since ur allowed to sign a RFA to an offer sheet right?  Technically speaking Kessel has no contract so I dont think that would be a problem.

  26. the_word says:

    Was he even nominated for the Calder?

  27. cam7777 says:

    I'm an obsessive hockey fan, what can I say?

  28. mojo19 says:

    he's still property of the Bruins. But I'm sure they have their bases covered anyways

  29. mojo19 says:

    lol, he didn't even become the starter until the trade deadline when Huet was traded. Last year was his first full year as a starter and how'd that work out? Kind of like the '08 playoffs vs boston and Philly.


  30. the_word says:

    Trading Huet, a starting goatender at the deadline with a first place team was by far Gainey's worst decision. The Habs have only regressed since.

  31. reinjosh says:

    i just have this bad feeling that this deal is going to backfire (alla penner)
    and we get screwed by giving up a top 10 pick
    though why dont the leafs just offer 2.6 million dollars a year for like 2 years
    kessel is still movable, he doesnt have a massive contract to give him a way out and bomb
    and if he fails the leafs, only have to endure two bad seasons with him
    and they only give up 1 2nd

  32. broc says:

    Well, I would love for the Leafs to get Kessel.. but, I don't think the Leafs are really in a position yet to be trading away their 1st rounders.

    If the Leafs had lost the last game of the season, they would have picked 5th overall this passed draft.

    The Leafs got tougher, but I'm not sure they'll be entirely better yet.. so, what if their pick next year is another top 5 pick or better?

    Then you're trading a top 5 pick, potentially ANOTHER 1st rounder on top of that, and a 2nd? Way too much. Kessel shouldn't be the centrepiece of a Leafs build. They should tank it and hope to get Taylor Hall and keep and gather more picks this season still IMO.

    If the Leafs trade any 1st rounders, they better be top 7 protected.

  33. cam7777 says:

    Because if he was willing to sign for that much, Chiarelli would easily match, and comfortably send Kobasew or Sturm to the minors when Kessel returns from injury; or even now, if he has to.

    The whole issue started with the fact that Chiarelli doesn't believe Kessel is worth more than Krejci, and isn't willing to go much higher than the 3.75 million he got.  Kessel on the other hand, believes he is worth closer to 5, if not more.

  34. cam7777 says:

    yea, you're probably right.  they are immensely deep.

    i still think they would struggle if Chara went down though.  they count on him for so much.  he's their shutdown guy, their bomb on the powerplay, their enforcer, etc…  Him going down would hurt regardless of that depth.

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