Toronto Media Starting to call on the Leafs to move Kessel
There’s only one untouchable on the Maple Leafs.
The man with no name.
Not Clint Eastwood, or his empty chair.
The 2013 first-round draft choice.
It is to be protected, retained and cherished, although other teams covet it and have already started suggesting it should be included in proposed trades.
At least when Kessel was acquired it could be imagined that one day he would be an untouchable. But it hasn’t happened, and worse, in the early days of the shortened 2012-13 season it appears he may be poised to struggle through his most difficult season in a Leaf uniform yet.
Kessel appears ill-conditioned, isolated, troubled or simply massively unlucky, or some combination of those.
Whatever the case, it is becoming difficult to imagine a scenario in which Kessel remains a Leaf beyond the end of this season.
Now, given the state of the team and the 25-year-old Kessel’s contractual status going forward, the April 3 trade deadline looms as the unofficial deadline to move this player, and there will be takers.
The kind of deal the Leafs should be looking for will be similar to that made by Columbus at last year’s deadline when Jeff Carter, then 27, was moved to the L.A. Kings for 25-year-old defenceman Jack Johnson and a first-round pick.