Hockey

Phil Kessel Readying Leave From Toronto Maple Leafs

Phil Kessel Readying Leave From Toronto Maple Leafs

toronto maple leafs phil kessel trade 2015The Toronto Maple Leafs have not been in the news much in recent weeks. The historic franchise in Canada’s largest city finished 30 points out of a playoff spot this season and, accordingly, they have not been playing meaningful hockey for several months now. However being a Leafs’ fan these days means focusing on the future and, on that note, the franchise has been a part of recent trade rumors.

An NHL.com article written on Monday headlined: “Maple Leafs open to trading players, maybe (Phil) Kessel.”

The 27-year old right winger has spent the bulk of his career in Toronto, often scoring 30 or more goals for his team. He would be a strong addition to practically any NHL club, however Toronto’s Assistant GM Kyle Dubas is more focused on what he might be able to get back in any hypothetical trade:

“In any trade we are talking about — and I won’t get into specific players and rumors — any trade that were going to be making, we’re going to be looking to add as much as we can back to the organization,” Dubas stated. “That’s not to say we won’t be looking for good present-day players. We can’t just lose year after year. That’s not the plan to lose, that just brings up our players in a losing environment and that’s not good.

Dubas continued:

“Our plan is going to be to make the trade that best helps our organization, whether that’s draft picks, prospects, current NHL players. We aren’t good enough to be picky about what the type of assets come back is. We hope to get there one day, but we aren’t there yet.”

The comment about losing “year after year” is no doubt a reference to the recent struggles that the Maple Leafs have had. Since the lockout season, Toronto have only made the playoffs one time and the memories made in that single post-season appearance were painful ones. The Leafs held a huge lead in game seven of their first round series against the Boston Bruins only to eventually lose the elimination game.

The trade rumors, besides being in the context of several years of losing, are also in the context of the upcoming 2015 NHL Draft, an event that will take place on June 26th and 27th. After missing out on the Connor McDavid sweepstakes the Maple Leafs still hold the right to pick fourth in the upcoming draft. Furthermore Toronto also hold the right to pick 24th in the first round, a right they acquired from the Nashville Predators.

However for a disenchanted Leaf fan base prospects, that may require years to develope, probably aren’t going to do the trick. In my opinion, what Toronto need to do is forsake their future prospects and focus on putting the best possible team on the ice in the 2015/16 season. Dubas stated that acquiring “current NHL players” is an option he might explore. If we could insert the word “proven” into the phrase then that’s the route I think Toronto should take.

Dubas has suggested that the fourth pick in the NHL Draft is a commodity he would consider trading. It would probably be worth letting that pick go in exchange for a proven player. Furthermore, I don’t think the Leafs should be trading Kessel, a proven player on offense.

Rebuilding with draft picks and youth is a tricky business, one that I think good NHL managers should stay away from. Toronto would be better off working with players known to be good and letting the other franchises, for better or worse, risk their futures on potential flops.

NHL.com article: http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=770281&navid=nhl:topheads

Hockey
@GrandSlambert77

Shane is a sports writer with a big interest in tennis, but he's also a noted writer about travel and fiction. Plus he can handle long walks in the cold Canadian tundra!

More in Hockey

Will Montreal Canadiens or Toronto Maple Leafs end 'The Canadian Slump' 2017 images

Will Montreal Canadiens or Toronto Maple Leafs end ‘The Canadian Slump’?

Shane LambertMarch 26, 2017
Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby   NHL Hart Memorial MVP Race Heats Up 2017 images

Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby – NHL Hart Memorial MVP Race Heats Up

Shane LambertMarch 25, 2017
edmonton oilers looking to bite into san jose sharks slump 2017 images

Edmonton Oilers looking to bite into San Jose Sharks slump

Shane LambertMarch 22, 2017
Edmonton Oilers 2017 NHL Playoff Scenarios images

Edmonton Oilers 2017 NHL Playoff Scenarios

Shane LambertMarch 13, 2017
San Jose Sharks in Best Shape in NHL Races 2017 images

San Jose Sharks in Best Shape in NHL Races

Shane LambertMarch 11, 2017
Calgary Flames Creeping up on Edmonton, Anaheim 2017 images

Calgary Flames Creeping up on Edmonton, Anaheim

Shane LambertMarch 6, 2017
Chicago Blackhawks Sounding Off Alarms Bells in NHL 2017 images

Chicago Blackhawks Sounding Off Alarms Bells in NHL

Shane LambertMarch 4, 2017
Steve Yzerman, Avs, School LA Kings in Trades 2017 images

Steve Yzerman, Avs, School LA Kings in Trades

Shane LambertMarch 2, 2017
Top 5 NHL underachievers so far in 2016 17 images

Top 5 NHL Underachievers so far for 2016-17 season

Shane LambertFebruary 17, 2017

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

You will only receive one per day. You'll also get a free THE WALKING DEAD graphic novel with your subscription