Phil Kessel Deal Wasn't Great for Toronto Maple Leafs But Not Complete Disaster
I am getting really tired of people treating Tyler Seguin like the second coming of Steve Yzerman. Don't get me wrong—by all accounts this kid is going to be a fantastic hockey player, and he may indeed be special like Steve Y.
But all I hear day in and day out from the media and Leaf haters alike is how disastrous the Phil Kessel deal was and how it's set the Maple Leafs franchise back years in its development.
Firstly, a disastrous deal would be trading Roberto Luongo for next to nothing (sorry, Bert) or trading away a pick that turned into Scott Niedermayer for Tom Kurvers. The Leafs gave up a potential franchise player in Seguin, but in return got a 22-year-old kid who has already twice cracked the 30-goal mark, led his team in playoff scoring, and was selected fifth overall in 2006 behind such talents as Erik Johnson, Jordan Staal, Jonathan Toews, and Niklas Backstrom.
Many even said he could have gone first if not for some questions about his attitude, a sentiment which speaks volumes about the talent this kid has (and yes, I will acknowledge it also speaks to the fact that he will never be a franchise player. But a 50-goal scorer? Quite possibly).
Secondly, while it would have been ideal to draft Seguin, the fact is that Brian Burke has assembled a stable of prospects that, while not including a blue chip star, still is viewed to be quite deep (ranked No. 6 by Hockey Futures). If Brian Burke can acquire Mark Savard for Grabovski plus a prospect, as has been speculated, and then trade Tomas Kaberle for a player such as Dustin Brown (just throwing a name out there for comparability purposes—settle down people!) then the Leafs would have what I would consider to be a playoff team.
Don't forget, Burke would still have the cap space after those moves to add a few complementary pieces via free agency (HELLO COLBY ARMSTRONG!).
So, would a roster that looks like the one below, which is very possibly going to be the true roster for 2010-2011, look like that of a playoff team? I'd like somebody to tell me WHY NOT?
Forwards: D. Brown—Savard—Kessel
M. Brown—Sjostrom—Orr (Not sure Sjostrom plays centre but I digress)
Would I make the Kessel trade again like Burke claims he would? HELL NO! Do I think it's set the Leafs back years? Not at all. Leafs' fans should start getting excited. Good things are ahead.
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