Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin: Why the Deal Was a Win for the Bruins and Leafs
On September 18, 2009, the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs finalized and made public a trade that sent Phil Kessel to the Leafs in exchange for two first-round selections (2010, 2011) and a second-round selection (2010).
At the time of the trade, Leafs GM Brian Burke was on the look out for a top-notch scorer for a squad that let in the most goals in the 2008-09 season. Their top goalscorer that year was Jason Blake with 25...something needed to change.
The Leafs brought in a solid 30-plus goalscorer while gambling with the loss of two crucial picks that could've made their future even better.
Despite the addition of Kessel, the Leafs actually did worse than the year before, finishing a full seven points back of their previous year's point total and were the worst team in the NHL not named the Edmonton Oilers.
The trade was looked upon as the worst trade in Leafs history, based on the fact that Burke traded away the pick that ended up being second overall, a pick that the Bruins used to choose Tyler Seguin.
Seguin had a great final year in Plymouth, scoring 48 goals and 58 assists for 106 points, tied with Windsor Spitfires forward Taylor Hall for tops in the OHL.
Now, we look back at the trade and as much as we want to trash a good start made by Kessel in 2011-12, he is making a difference in Toronto and making the word "playoffs" mean something to the city for the first time since before the lockout.
Why was this trade a win-win for both clubs?
Boston Bruins: 2011 Stanley Cup Champions
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We will start with the first (and most obvious) plus for one of the teams involved. It's not to say that Tyler Seguin won the Cup for the Bruins, it was that the Bruins didn't falter with the loss of a potent goalscorer in Phil Kessel and went on to defeat the Vancouver Canucks to win the 2011 Stanley Cup.
Other than coming up big in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals against Tampa Bay, Seguin was relatively non-existent but as a rookie, he wasn't expected to carry the loads like Zdeno Chara or Patrice Bergeron.
Simple result, the Bruins are the defending Cup champs and have a squad that have the ability to do it again in 2011-12.
Beginning of Leafs Resurgence
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The Phil Kessel acquisition was a recent moment in Leafs history that we won't forget for a long time. It defined the start of the Brian Burke era and it was the start of some big moves by the Leafs GM.
All the trades that followed were to bring in small pieces to the puzzle that Burke figured the Leafs needed to make the baby steps to the top.
Dion Phaneuf, Joffrey Lupul, Jake Gardiner and Joe Colborne were all brought to Toronto to start a movement towards the playoffs and without the Kessel trade to set the tone, where would we be as an organization?
Count in the fact that Kessel is on pace to set a career high in goals and points and also leads the NHL at this point in both categories, the Leafs got a good deal as well, considering a 30-plus goalscorer was hard to come by a couple years ago.
The Tomas Kaberle Factor
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Unless Jared Knight and Dougie Hamilton turn out to be amazing additions, the Kessel trade lost some sting when Tomas Kaberle was traded to the Bruins.
Kaberle was in the final year of his contract and chose Boston as his preferred destination so on February 18, 2011, Kaberle was traded for towering centre Joe Colborne, Boston's first-round pick (2011) and a conditional second-round pick (2012). Boston met that condition by reaching the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.
By acquiring all that for Kaberle, the Bruins pulled off exactly what the Leafs did in the Kessel deal.
Think about it, Colborne was a first-round selection. They added another first-rounder and ended up with a second-rounder as well.
The sting hurt less when Kaberle didn't play a pivotal part in the Bruins' success and ended up signing with Carolina in the summer.
The Bruins gave up what the Leafs did for a rental player while the Leafs gave it up to get a franchise forward for years to come.
Sure, the Bruins got a Cup out of it but when you look past that, advantage Leafs.
Both Are Young; Yet to Reach Potential
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Both of these players have been touted as natural goalscorers. Players that can fire the puck in the net at will at a pace that hovers around the 40- to 50-goal category.
Phil Kessel just turned 24 while Tyler Seguin will be 20 in January.
While Kessel is starting to show the signs of a 40-goal man, we will have to wait and see what the future holds for Seguin, who enters his sophomore year.
The sophomore slump may kick him down or he may persevere, who knows, that's why we have to watch his development and discover what kind of NHL player he is going to become.
Both are young guys that have that potential so for that, these two players, as much as the media will compare the two, at the moment, it looks like a win-win for both clubs.
What do you think?