Elliotte Friedman released this week’s edition of Thirty Thoughts on Sunday morning and there were a few interesting Leafs tidbits – mainly regarding their front office operations, and of course, the potential upcoming Kessel trade.
Toronto is going forward through the draft without a true general manager at the helm but Friedman shed a little light on how they’d be approaching things in the meantime.
The Maple Leafs sent out a communiqué last week indicating any team wanting to talk trade should go through assistant GM Kyle Dubas.
With Mark Hunter focusing primarily on the draft, it seems the Leafs have dished much of the pro-level roster decisions to Dubas, which, as Friedman alluded to, signifies the level of trust he’s established in the eyes of Shanahan. There was some talk that this indicated Dubas as the next full-time general manager, but that doesn’t appear to be the case yet. They’re basically just operating as a duo, each with their specific focuses.
On the Leafs shopping Kessel, and how they’ll make the money work:
Toronto’s let it be known it will take salary back for Phil Kessel, but there is a limit. It’s got to be less (in term and value) than Kessel’s. The Maple Leafs are more interested in prospects and draft picks, but recognize that alone won’t get a deal done. Since the idea is to help create cap flexibility, it doesn’t make sense to receive a similar contract in return.
For some reason this sent everyone off a ledge thinking the Leafs would retain part of Kessel’s eight-million dollar cap hit, but that clearly isn’t the case.
I think most of us have assumed to this point that any team dealing with the Leafs for Kessel would have to send back some money to make it work. This would go along the same lines as the potential Phaneuf to Detroit deal that was rumored in March, where Toronto would have likely taken back Stephen Weiss who is a little cheaper and will have his contract expire sooner. If the Leafs are willing to take back that sort of contract, it would obviously maximize the return they get in the rest of the deal, but as Friedman mentioned, they will only go so far.