Jan 28, 2013, 12:27 PM EDT
Toronto Star columnist Damien Cox thinks the Maple Leafs should trade their “ill-conditioned, isolated, troubled or simply massively unlucky” sniper, Phil Kessel.
The column’s timing is no surprise. Kessel doesn’t have a goal in his first five games. And while the 25-year-old’s dry streak isn’t for a lack of chances, it’s still a major topic of conversation in Toronto.
The column also comes just weeks after general manager Brian Burke – the man who acquired Kessel from Boston in a much-criticized trade – was fired.
Here’s how Cox sees it:
Kessel cost the Leafs a great deal, as much, perhaps, in prestige as in actual assets. Indeed, that deal may ultimately have cost Burke his job.
That’s not to blame Kessel for the state of the team, although as the star forward, he has to shoulder his fair share.
Personality-wise, this just hasn’t been a fit. Like Andrea Bargnani, he could be a nice secondary piece on a good team.
On a young, struggling team, however, he can’t be the front man.
Beyond that, if you’re the Leafs, you don’t want to be the team that has to figure out what to pay Kessel once his current deal ends at the conclusion of next season.
At a $5.4 million cap hit ($5.1 million in real money this season), he’s affordable given his stats and goal-scoring ability.
At $7 million, or $8 million, it will be much different. And that’s what he’ll be able to demand.
Agree or disagree with Cox’s take, don’t expect the debate to go away anytime soon. That is, unless new GM Dave Nonis comes out and says a trade isn’t going to happen. (And even then, is Nonis telling the truth?)
Of course, it should be noted Nonis just signed Kessel’s line mate, Joffrey Lupul, to a five-year, $26.25 million contract extension – a move the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle called a “clear indication” that Nonis wants to keep Kessel.
Apr 20, 2014, 7:32 PM EDT
Not exactly an ideal start for Anders Lindback.
Apr 20, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT
He stopped 31 out of 33 in Sunday’s win vs. the Rangers.
Apr 20, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT
Can the Bolts get back in this series?
Apr 20, 2014, 5:54 PM EDT
Milan Lucic scored a goal a game after that spearing incident.
Apr 20, 2014, 4:58 PM EDT
They are playing on opposite sides in the Detroit-Boston series.
Apr 20, 2014, 4:03 PM EDT
They’re down 2-0 to Montreal going into Game 3 tonight.
Apr 20, 2014, 3:12 PM EDT
The series is tied at 1-1.
Apr 20, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT
Chicago will have to find a way to get back into this series without one of its top defenseman.
Apr 20, 2014, 2:27 PM EDT
It’s the second part of NBC’s doubleheader.
Apr 20, 2014, 1:52 PM EDT
He stopped 30 shots on Saturday.
Apr 20, 2014, 1:11 PM EDT
Pittsburgh dropped Game 2 against Columbus.
Apr 20, 2014, 12:23 PM EDT
The Bruins are one of the most effective teams in the league with the man advantage.
Apr 20, 2014, 11:31 AM EDT
He was pulled late in Friday’s game.
Apr 20, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT
The contest will start at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Apr 20, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT
He has seven points in his first two playoff games.
Apr 20, 2014, 9:58 AM EDT
With a two-goal lead, Pittsburgh had four forwards on during a power play, which proved to be the turning point of this game.
Apr 20, 2014, 9:06 AM EDT
Meanwhile the Lightning are in a dangerous position.
Apr 20, 2014, 1:15 AM EDT
“You can’t defend on your heels,” Ryan Suter said.
Apr 20, 2014, 12:35 AM EDT
Colorado overcomes some strange officiating late in Game 2.
Apr 19, 2014, 11:56 PM EDT
Colorado’s rookie sensation is inspiring some bold words.
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