26 September 2009
So after hearing about Dany Heatley all offseason, trade fanatics were treated to another gift when the Boston Bruins, unable to sign restricted free agent Phil Kessel to a new deal, shipped him to division and Original Six rival Toronto. While the Bruins lost a good young goal scorer, they bulked up their prospect potential by acquiring two first round picks and a second round pick.
To be honest, I love what the Toronto Maple Leafs did this offseason. Orr, celeb gossip Exelby, Komisarek, Beauchemin, Primeau, Gustavsson in net, and now Kessel? If you've been watching my videos at hockeytube.com/us/ or at Youtube, you would have seen that I considered the Maple Leafs a bubble team, and possible playoff contenders. You'll find out in a few days if I have them in the postseason or not; but I know this, adding Kessel only promotes my thinking that they could make the top eight in the East.
Brian Burke has put a physical stamp on the team and isn't "rebuilding." He's setting the team up for success now. He improved their defense and sured up the backup goalie spot in the offseason, but despite those moves, the offense still was quite shaky.
But now he goes out and adds young Kessel. Young, goal scoring Kessel. One player certainly won't elevate 17 other skaters offensively night in night out, but it can help. Kessel is going to have a lot of pressure on his shoulders now to deal with, but I don't think he'll have a problem.
An offensive player was added to a team that needed offensive help. When presented that way, it sounds like a good move. But it's the details that may not make this such a great trade, but we won't know for several years.
Three picks for one player? Two first round picks for one player? Kessel has a lot of untapped potential, and many years ahead of him in the league. But he isn't anywhere near the level of an Ovechkin or Malkin, yet that didn't stop Burke from throwing three picks over to Boston for him.
That's a lot to give up for one player. Toronto is one of only four teams not to make the postsesason in the last four years since the lockout (along with the Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, and Phoenix? Coyotes). So for a team that hasn't had recent success to give up that many draft picks may make you scratch your head.
Will chemistry be a problem with a lot of new faces on this team? Maybe. And the offense, even with Kessel, still likely isn't going to light it up each night. It looks like Burke has thrown together a roster that can compete and be quite physical this year, but if they don't make the playoffs, there's going to be problems.
Toronto gave up a lot to get Phil Kessel, and if he doesn't pay off, and Boston drafts good youngs players with Toronto's picks into that division, then this trade is going to haunt Maple Leaf fans for years to come.
Toronto's last regular season game is Saturday, April 10th. And if they don't have a playoff series starting the following week, Brian Burke better leave town April 9th, and not come back until July 1st to try again.
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