Oct 1, 2013, 1:36 PM EDT
The Toronto Maple Leafs have given Phil Kessel an eight-year, $64 million extension, tying the 25-year-old to the club through the 2021-22 season. Since we just wrote a post about the difficulty making predictions, we won’t say for sure whether this will turn out well, or horribly, for the Leafs. Instead, let’s do this:
Two reasons this was a good move by the Leafs
1. Kessel is one of the premier snipers in the NHL. There are not many players still in their 20s with four 30-goal seasons on their resumes. When a team has one of those players, it really doesn’t want to let him walk away in free agency, or even as a trade-deadline rental. An $8 million cap hit is high, but it’s not insane. No question he would’ve received that if he’d hit the market this summer. Not to mention, the cap is expected to go up, some think dramatically, in the next few years.
2. There aren’t many top unrestricted free agents hitting the open market anymore. Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf didn’t, and the Ducks are hardly a big-money team like the Leafs. Not only can pending UFAs sign eight-year extensions with their current teams, as opposed to just seven years with all others, a lot of the time players are married and have started families at that point in their careers. Moving to a whole new city isn’t easy, even for a whole whack of money. So in the Leafs’ case, if they’d lost Kessel, what would they have done to replace his scoring? Maybe they’d have been able to sign a guy like Thomas Vanek, but they wouldn’t have been the only suitors. And besides, Vanek’s four years older than Kessel.
Two reasons this was a bad move by the Leafs
1. Kessel is a winger, and the evidence says that Cup champs are built with goalies, defensemen, and centers. The more money a team spends on its wingers, the less it has for those three key areas. Jonathan Toews, Anze Kopitar, Patrice Bergeron, Sidney Crosby, Pavel Datsyuk — all centers, all have won rings. Alex Ovechkin — winger, no ring.
2. Kessel’s far from old, but some research suggests that 25 is the peak age for NHL scorers. For a player that relies on his speed so much to get into position to shoot, this may be particularly concerning for the Leafs. Not to keep picking on Ovechkin (a.k.a. the reigning Hart Trophy recipient), but there are a lot of similarities between the two players, and Ovechkin’s best goal-scoring seasons came before he turned 25.
Jul 1, 2015, 1:47 PM EDT
One year, $1.25 million.
Jul 1, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT
Former Jets forward scores a big-money deal.
Jul 1, 2015, 1:29 PM EDT
27-year-old never really panned out in Boston.
Jul 1, 2015, 1:22 PM EDT
Having already signed former Canuck Brad Richardson.
Jul 1, 2015, 1:11 PM EDT
Nice raise after playing for $700,000 in Pittsburgh last season.
Jul 1, 2015, 1:08 PM EDT
End of an era in Toronto. A premier goal-scoring winger heads to Pittsburgh.
Jul 1, 2015, 1:08 PM EDT
All the signings from what promises to be a busy day.
Jul 1, 2015, 1:07 PM EDT
Finnish forward coming off a strong first season in St. Louis.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:56 PM EDT
Jul 1, 2015, 12:54 PM EDT
Steve Mason has a new backup.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:48 PM EDT
One of the prized UFA d-men, off the market.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:46 PM EDT
Peter Chiarelli, making moves.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT
Spent last year as Marc-Andre Fleury’s No. 2 in Pittsburgh.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:25 PM EDT
Will be expected to provide a steadying presence on Colorado’s blue line.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:23 PM EDT
Former Ranger gets a nice deal on the opening day of free agency.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:18 PM EDT
Big d-man sticks for one more year in the ‘Peg.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:12 PM EDT
Chuck Fletcher takes care of business early on July 1.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:11 PM EDT
Led all Vancouver d-men with 11 goals.
Jul 1, 2015, 11:51 AM EDT
“I really didn’t get any indications of anything negative in exit meetings.”
Jul 1, 2015, 11:41 AM EDT
One year, at $575,000.
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins 65
- PHT’s 2015 free agent frenzy tracker 26
- Oilers get Sekera for six years, closing in on Letestu 6
- Avalanche sign veteran d-man Beauchemin for three years 5
- Neely was ‘surprised’ that Hamilton didn’t want to sign with Bruins 14
- NHL, Coyotes deny report that team is moving to Vegas 32
- Report: Richards’ border incident involved oxycodone 63
- Trade: Bieksa headed to California — but it’s Anaheim, not San Jose 25
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago 91
- Hamilton signs six-year deal with Flames 19
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (91)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)
- Trade: Busy Bruins send Lucic to Kings (66)