BY ROB MACNEIL – FAN FUEL BLOGGER
In his Monday column, Sportsnet’s Damien Cox argues that the Toronto Maple Leafs should entertain trading Phil Kessel before the April 3 NHL trade deadline. In Cox’s opinion, the kind of package general manager Dave Nonis should look for is similar to what the Blue Jackets received at the deadline for Jeff Carter, then 27, when he went to the L.A. Kings for 25-year-old defenceman Jack Johnson and a first-round pick. Furthermore, Cox goes on to say that the only untouchable on the Leafs roster should be their 2013 first round pick.
Do you think the Maple Leafs should begin to shop Phil Kessel? Do you think they should consider trading their number one pick? Here are some of the comments from our forums. Please add yours at the bottom as well as answering our poll.
SprDave: Leafs will keep their first round pick probably for the next few years. I’m not overly worried about this. Trading Kessel however, is not a move I would make unless the return is too big for us to turn down. He’s not in his prime and has been getting better with each passing year he’s been with the Leafs. He may not be a defensive juggernaut but his play away from the puck has greatly improved to go with his amazing offensive talents.
chilifactor: I guess what the Leafs need to figure out is, do they want Kessel, Phaneuf, Lupul and Grabovski as their highest-earning players for years to come. Kessel will probably get 6 Mill plus after next year ( I don’t agree with Cox that he’ll get 7-8). Dion will probably get somehwere close to where he is now – 6.5. Grabs at 5.5. Lupul at 5.5. Not sure I like that picture. My guess Is Phil will want out. With all the negativity here, media scrutiny/ridiculousness, and years of ineptitude, why would he want to stay?
richard39: he’ll get far more than 6 on the open market as a 26 year old that averages 30 goals+ a season.
tmleafer: Going into the 2014-2015 season, which is what Kessel would be signing for, even with the roll back on player % of earnings, the salary cap could realisitcally be around the $70-74M mark. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kessel get $7-7.5M. Personally though, I don’t think Toronto would be doing great cap management longterm if we had Kessel+Phaneuf+Lupul+Grabovski+Liles+JVR taking up ~32-34M of the cap or whatever it works out to be.
Mckay: They may have to explore the option of trading him if he doesn’t want to resign with the Leafs. He has a limited NTC which kicks in this next year… will be harder to trade him when that happens. Hopefully they could get something similar to what Philly got for Carter or Richards at least.
Bobbyb_: Trade Kessel and who is going to replace the 35 goals? It really defeats the purpose of having Grabs and Lupul longterm then. Unless they can pull off a coup, and get Getzlaf from the ducks in a package deal.
StarLeaf: If the Leafs do eventually trade Kessel, then they should really also look to trade some other ‘older’ players that could bring a reasonable return (i.e.: late 1st rounder +). That list could include the likes of Phaneuf, Grabovski, Liles, MacArthur and even the recently signed Lupul. I’m not suggesting to trade them all, but by trading Kessel for future type assets, the Leafs would effectively be going through a significant reset.
Which move would you like to see the Maple Leafs do before the April 3 trade deadline?