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.
Apr 16, 2014, 1:14 AM EDT
Well, that’s good for St. Louis.
Apr 16, 2014, 12:15 AM EDT
Apr 15, 2014, 11:17 PM EDT
They’ve struggled after the Olympics.
Apr 15, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT
It was a tough season in Buffalo.
Apr 15, 2014, 9:31 PM EDT
“It puts a lot more pressure on everybody else,” says Nathan MacKinnon.
Apr 15, 2014, 8:25 PM EDT
After losing the No. 1 pick to Colorado last year.
Apr 15, 2014, 8:05 PM EDT
Anders Lindback gets the start.
Apr 15, 2014, 7:14 PM EDT
Didn’t practice Tuesday.
Apr 15, 2014, 6:55 PM EDT
Heck, will Steve Mason even be available?
Apr 15, 2014, 6:43 PM EDT
Just days after another group of ex-players filed last Thursday.
Apr 15, 2014, 5:31 PM EDT
What about the Stars over the Ducks?
Apr 15, 2014, 5:16 PM EDT
“He’s relentless,” according to Craig MacTavish.
Apr 15, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
“I don’t think I can screw it up too bad whoever I choose.”
Apr 15, 2014, 3:13 PM EDT
The city has terminated the contract.
Apr 15, 2014, 2:39 PM EDT
You don’t say.
Apr 15, 2014, 2:08 PM EDT
“That’s not been determined yet,” said head coach Craig Berube.
Apr 15, 2014, 1:50 PM EDT
Even if they beat Minnesota, that question won’t be put to bed.
Apr 15, 2014, 1:10 PM EDT
Union College standout was a third-round pick in ’12.
Apr 15, 2014, 1:01 PM EDT
“We have no qualms whatsoever about a long-term problem with it.”
Apr 15, 2014, 12:38 PM EDT
“I’m not naive to the talk. I’ve been asked the question lots.”
- Pressing Question: Can the Blackhawks avoid the Stanley Cup hangover? 3
- Florida wins ’14 NHL draft lottery, will pick first overall 35
- Philly mum on Mason’s availability for Game 1 vs. Rangers 25
- Pressing question: Can the Blues get back on track? 16
- That’s a raise: Flyers sign MacDonald to six-year, $30 million extension 90
- Sabres, Panthers have best odds for 2014 NHL draft lottery 16
- Leafs ‘lack an identity,’ says Leiweke 30
- On the hot seat: McPhee will ‘talk in a couple of days’ 21
- Bruins are 7/2 favorites to win the Stanley Cup; Blues next at 6/1 49
- End of an era: Trotz out as Nashville head coach 40
- That’s a raise: Flyers sign MacDonald to six-year, $30 million extension (90)
- Lightning’s Malone arrested for DUI, cocaine possession (73)
- Update: Daniel Sedin in stable condition, hospitalized after scary hit (58)
- Halak’s agent ‘bewildered’ by Oates’ remarks prior to Blues game (51)
- Here’s the schedule for the first round of the 2014 playoffs (51)