Skip to content

Toronto columnist: Trade Kessel

Jan 28, 2013, 12:27 PM EDT

Phil Kessel Getty Images

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Desjardins: Canucks comfortable carrying three goalies

    Sep 19, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT

    Jacob Markstrom Getty Images

    That usually doesn’t end well, but this might be an exception.

  2. Clowe ‘advised’ to fight less, not sure he will

    Sep 19, 2014, 6:59 PM EDT

    CloweDevils Getty Images

    He suffered three concussions in under a year.

  3. Orpik heard good things ‘human-being wise’ about Trotz

    Sep 19, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    Brooks Orpik Getty Images

    It’s part of the reason why the defenseman is playing for Washington.

  4. Joe Sakic’s now general manager in name too

    Sep 19, 2014, 4:17 PM EDT

    Joe Sakic Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations of the Colorado Avalanche addresses the media as Patrick Roy is introduced as the new Head Coach/Vice President of Hockey Operations of the Colorado Avalanche during a press conference at the Pepsi Center on May 28, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.
(May 27, 2013 - Source: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

    Greg Sherman stayed on as his assistant.

  5. Kyle Palmieri out at least two weeks with high ankle sprain

    Sep 19, 2014, 3:33 PM EDT

    kylepalmierigetty Getty Images

    He’s not the only member of the Ducks that’s hurting.

  6. Doughty (upper body) listed as day-to-day

    Sep 19, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Drew Doughty Getty Images

    Held out of Kings’ on-ice activities on Friday.

  7. Sakic says Avs ownership gave ‘green light’ to ‘make this team win’

    Sep 19, 2014, 2:06 PM EDT

    Joe Sakic AP

    “We’re a cap team now, despite us being in the bottom five of the league in ticket revenue.”

  8. Update: Giroux out two weeks with lower-body injury

    Sep 19, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Claude Giroux Getty Images

    Flyers captain currently being evaluated.

  9. Nuge must ‘step up’ for Oilers, who are thin down the middle

    Sep 19, 2014, 1:21 PM EDT

    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Getty Images

    “We have two NHL centermen right now,” said Dallas Eakins.

  10. Blues invite Ryan Whitney to camp

    Sep 19, 2014, 1:09 PM EDT

    whitneyryangetty Getty Images

    Just like they did last year.

  11. NHL GMs sympathize with Jackets on Johansen situation

    Sep 19, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT

    Davidson

    But most of them wouldn’t have gone public with the negotiations.

  12. In final contract year, Hartley unfazed by lack of new deal

    Sep 19, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT

    Bob Hartley AP

    What does his future hold in Calgary?

  13. Coyotes GM: We can’t ‘match up, No. 1 line to No. 1 line, with many teams in the West’

    Sep 19, 2014, 11:07 AM EDT

    Don Maloney AP

    “But maybe we can control the top lines and outperform the lower lines.”

  14. Ducks GM hoping ‘the kids’ can get it done in goal

    Sep 19, 2014, 10:56 AM EDT

    John Gibson Getty Images

    “I’m sure they’re up to the task.”

  15. Blue Jackets’ Dubinsky had equipment held hostage

    Sep 19, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT

    Brandon Dubinsky AP

    Understands what RFA Ryan Johansen is currently going through.

  16. Penguins unveil third jersey

    Sep 19, 2014, 9:47 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 9.22.14 AM

    Going old school for upcoming season.

  17. Quenneville plans to start Richards between Saad and Kane in Chicago

    Sep 19, 2014, 8:46 AM EDT

    Joel Quenneville AP

    Hopes to find the right fit on his second line.

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. J. Quick (1393)
  2. S. Bennett (1322)
  3. A. Ovechkin (1156)
  4. K. Timonen (1149)
  5. B. Schenn (1113)