May 30 2015 06:29PM
There's a lot of good reasons to keep Phil Kessel in Toronto - perhaps just as many as there are to trade him. Kessel is a 27-year old elite goal scorer; the kind of high end talent that doesn't become available very often. Normally, it'd be silly to think of trading away such a player, but the Maple Leafs (if you haven't heard) are about to embark on what will likely be a long and painful rebuild.
Kessel is not old, but he is in his prime. By the time Toronto comes out on the other side, he may not be the player he once was. On top of that, Kessel is the Leafs' most valuable trade chip, and moving him now might accelerate the rebuild by years. That's not an exaggeration.
The issue is, while pretty much any team would gladly employ Kessel, there aren't many that can afford him. He's got an $8M cap hit until 2022, which I'd argue is more than fair price, there aren't many teams that A) have that kind of cap space and B) are looking to improve dramatically in the short term. Kessel is not a fit for a rebuilding team, but would be immensely valuable to a club that's looking to take the next step or simply solidify themselves as a perennial Stanley Cup Contender.
So where should he end up? Here's the five teams I'd be calling if I were looking to deal Phil Kessel...
May 29 2015 06:17PM
We continue on with our First Round Targets series with our first USHL player - the Waterloo Black Hawks' Brock Boeser. Committed to the University of North Dakota next year, Boeser is a 6'1, 191lb winger that's known most of all for his goal-scoring ability.
Boeser is ranked all over the map, so it's hard to say whether he'll be gone before the Leafs make the 24th overall selection, or if he'll slip right out of the first round altogether. NHL Central Scouting has him 28th among North American skaters, as does McKeen's. On Future Considerations' list Boeser is 26th, on Hockey Prospect's he's 14th, and on Corey Pronman's he's 31st. Sportsnet's Damien Cox has him 24th and TSN's Craig Button, somehow, has him 9th.
May 29 2015 04:12PM
Just a few days ago, it was a given that the Toronto Maple Leafs would dismantle the core of their roster and start all over again with a fresh and exciting rebuild. Things changed a bit when Mike Babcock was announced as the club's next head coach, with many wondering how much talent and production could be squeezed out of Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf by one of hockey's best bench bosses.
Does Babcock's arrival mean a little more rope for Kessel and Phaneuf? Should the Leafs maybe not flip them for youngsters and assets this offseason? Our TLN Roundtable discusses...
I've been on the "trade everything" bandwagon since day one, and as much as it pains me to say it, I still am. I love Phil Kessel, and I also kind of like Dion Phaneuf, but for a team that is looking to rebuild they are the two most obvious pieces to move.
Like many, I anticipate that Mike Babcock will instantly make the Toronto Maple Leafs a better team, but I'm sure as hell not convinced that means Toronto is suddenly a playoff team. An actual koala with a clipboard and a fedora could coach this team to a better record next year. With that, I'm not ready to say "hey, we're close, let's regroup with our current core and give it a run under Babcock." That's ridiculous.
May 29 2015 03:04PM
On this episode, Steve goes all in to reverse the #DangleJinx, women's hockey in video games, and more.
May 29 2015 11:05AM
It appears that Brad Ross' tenure in the Toronto Maple Leafs is coming to an end. The Iserlohn Roosters of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), have come to terms with the 23-year old winger, signing him to a one-year contract. We can also report that Ross has a player-option to extend it to a two year deal, should he feel inclined.