The Kessel Deal: Did The Leafs Really Bargain Their Future?

May 10th, 2010 by Derek Scarlino Leave a reply »
Amid the countless articles, opinion pieces, debates, tirades, and analyses on the Phil Kessel deal between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins, virtually none have taken into account the internal situation of the Maple Leafs organization.

This is hard to believe; especially in a hockey-mad market like Toronto.

Leaf-hating conspiracies aside, there was far more to the dynamics of that trade than virtually anyone has given the Leafs credit for. As the playoffs progress, and the NHL Entry Draft draws nearer, that first-round, lottery-pick that Boston got from Toronto for Kessel will surely become an even hotter topic.

Let's start with the summer of 2009, when the Maple Leafs picked Nazem Kadri seventh overall on draft day. Kadri is a very capable player, and likely would have performed admirably in the NHL had he not been sent back to the OHL. Prediction games aside, the kid definitely has a future in the NHL.

In Toronto general manager Brian Burke's first offseason at the helm, he set out to do what he does with teams; beef them up. The philosophy behind his "Top Six, Bottom Six" approach, is that if the third and fourth line ...

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