Maple Leafs in position to take a run at Kessel

Kevin Paul Dupont

Bruin Phil Kessel, almost dealt to the Maple Leafs in June, soon could be fitted for a Toronto sweater.

The question is: Will the Leafs once again try to pry Kessel away via a trade, or will Toronto general manager Brian Burke opt instead to extend an offer sheet to the fourth-year right wing, who last season scored a career-high 36 goals?“I’ve got nothing to say about any of it,’’ said Burke, when asked if he were on the verge of adding Kessel, a restricted free agent, to his roster. “Sorry, I’m just not going to go there.’’

Burke yesterday made a deal to reacquire Toronto’s second-round pick in 2010 from the Blackhawks in exchange for a pair of 2011 picks – Toronto’s own third-rounder and a second-rounder via Calgary. If Burke were to hand Kessel something around $4.5 million a year or more via an offer sheet, then the Bruins would have to match the deal or take the compensation that would include first-, second-, and third-round picks. Until his deal yesterday, Burke didn’t have the necessary draft picks to be in position to make Kessel an offer.

The Predators and Rangers also are believed to covet the 21-year-old Kessel, whom the Bruins have hoped to re-sign at a salary similiar to what they gave David Krejci (three years at $3.75 million average) earlier in the summer.

61 Responses to Maple Leafs in position to take a run at Kessel

  1. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    Schenn is very much overated by leaf fans. I'm likely the lone leaf fan that agree's. Schenn and kessel were both drafted 5th overall, but one has the potential to be the next Joe sakic, the other has the potential to be the next Chris Phillips…One is significantly more valuable….

    The deal would obviously not be one for one, The leafs would add more…

  2. the_word says:

    He's overrated yet he would have been the key to a deal that could have landed Tavares and Tampa Bay offered their 1st pick that was a lock for a top five in a deep draft at the deadline for Schenn straight up? If Schenn is overrated then its not simply Leafs fans that over value him.

  3. leafy says:

    None of these issues were factors when Winnipeg moved to Phoenix and Quebec moved to Colorado.  Bettman was driving the moving truck after those deals.

    But what really burns me about Bettman is his dishonesty. He is nothing but a compulsive liar and a hypocrite. 

    -Claiming hockey can thrive in Phoenix

    -Announcing that there are a slew of buyers who want to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix

    -Flip flopping on his original statements and saying the NHL wants to purchase the team and move them

    -His pathetic attempt at making Balsillie's character an issue when even convicted criminals have owned NHL teams (eg, Harold Ballard, Bruce McNall, William Del Biaggio, Henry Samueli, John Spano, John Rigas, Sanjay Kumar).

    Each of these actions make Balsillie qualify as both a liar and a hypocrite. Clear cut.

    Given that Bettman is allowed to keeep his job further proves the NHL has no moral principles or ethics.

  4. leafy says:

    Of course, in my second last line above, I meant to say Bettman, not Balsillie. lol

  5. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    Yes, Tampa Bay management overrated him as well. You'll notice they have a funny history of that (see malone, Vrbata, The Trade for carle, the trade for Meszaros….)…

    Imagine if that deal had been pulled off. Victor Hedman…

  6. DJTOKid says:

    You make good points adn I'm more day dreamin then anything. I agree with you that Vinnie has become complacent and loves to tan, but you take that awayf rom him and he might get alittle pissed off and take that aggression out on the ice.

  7. leafy says:

    The timing of this story is impeccable.  I wonder what the liar Bettman has to say about this.

  8. the_word says:

    We still could have had Victor on draft day. Perhaps not straight up for Schenn and I would have taken Hedman over Tavares in a heartbeat. I'm happy with Schenn and his skill set though.

    Criticizing him for being a pure shutdown defenseman is a tad perplexing. Would you rather a tradional top pairing defense that pads his stats, say a McCabe or Kubina. I favor the defensive defenseman.

  9. mojo19 says:

    I have a new found respect for Luke Schenn.

    I was watching a game on LeafsTV today with my American cousin who doesn't know anything about the NHL. And it was a game from January, meaningless game we lost 2-0 to Carolina. And his comments during the middle of the game were that "that defensman is your best player". And I noticed it too. Schenn was throwing lots of hits that game, and not all big ones, but he was so physical in the corners.

    Over the summer I think I forgot just how good Schenn was at times during his rookie year. I definitely think he's going to be a force on the back end.

    That being said I would definitely be interested in a flip for Phil Kessel, because I am a huge fan of the way he plays. He is always noticed out there and getting young, offensive talent like that is pretty hard to come by. You pretty much have to draft it or trade a player like Schenn for it.

  10. the_word says:

    I think Schenn, Kessel and Kaberle are all necessary pieces to be better long term. They each fill a specific need common to contenders. I think the offer sheet is the best choice.

    Schenn also goes for the big open hits on superstars, I can vividly recall him laying out Malkin a few times. He'll be a beast in three years.

  11. mojo19 says:

    Were most likely going to draft somewhere from 12-18, and you're not going to get a Phil Kessel type talent with that pick. So ya, giving up the 2nd and 3rd is pretty fair and well worth it.

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