With the Leafs supposedly shopping Phil Kessel hard in the days leading up to the draft, TSN’s Bob McKenzie dropped some knowledge on us regarding the options they may have in front of them.
In a piece published this afternoon ahead of tonight’s Finals tilt, McKenzie explained Kessel’s no-trade clause includes a list of eight teams he’s willing to be traded to, and indicated which teams might be on it.
Toronto is looking to rebuild and the Leafs’ veteran core players will generate varying degrees of interest. Most of them have limited no-trade clauses.
Kessel’s limited NTC is believed to include eight teams he can be traded to. Prior to the trade deadline, TSN reported those eight teams were believed to be: Boston; Chicago; Los Angeles; Minnesota; Montreal; New York Rangers; Philadelphia; and Pittsburgh.
This is all news to me. I’m not sure where I was at the trade deadline, but I can’t remember these teams being reported. Either way, quite the interesting list.
As McKenzie goes on to point out, this doesn’t stop Shanahan and company from finding another trading partner, they’d just likely have to get Kessel’s permission prior to pulling the trigger on a deal. Also, the way these no-trade clauses are often structured, the player can re-submit the list after each contract year. Though with the contract year expiring June 30th, that doesn’t do a lot to help the Leafs move him prior to the entry draft.
Personally I’ve always seen the Wild as a potential suitor due to Kessel’s ties to Minnesota, but the Vanek deal last summer sort of threw water on that idea. I wonder if there’s still something that could be worked out.
It’s difficult to imagine the Leafs trading Kessel to Montreal or Boston, two division rivals, unless the return was off the charts. And as for Chicago and Los Angeles, both are in cap hell so that would be insanely tough to pull off.
I floated the idea of targeting the Flyers’ seventh overall selection over twitter to some mixed reaction. With Toronto making it clear they’re trying to accumulate as many picks as possible in this draft, that might be an avenue they go down.
Another interesting thing to consider is if Kessel is looking to stay in Toronto, it would make sense for him to include all the cap-strapped teams on his list of potential destinations (h/t to Sharks blogger FearTheFin for that thought).