There have been multiple media reports including one in The Globe and Mail that indicates that Brendan Shanahan has been given the green light from Maple Leafs Sports Entertainment to conduct a major overhaul of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Reports have suggested that this overhaul could see Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf being traded.
Stoney Point - February 14, 2015 - There have been multiple media reports including one in The Globe and Mail that indicates that Brendan Shanahan has been given the green light from Maple Leafs Sports Entertainment to conduct a major overhaul of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Reports have suggested that this overhaul could see Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf being traded.
While I don’t pretend to have all the answers to know what is required to fix things in Leafs Nation, I do believe that the Buds would be making a mistake by moving Kessel out of the provincial capital.
Kessel is a bona-fide NHL goal scorer, who is amongst the best in the NHL. Those sorts of players are hard to find and for the Leafs to move the Wisconsin native, in my mind it should require another team who is willing to overpay for his services.
If you look at the stats from this current NHL season and the last four seasons – only Steven Stamkos, Alexander Ovechkin and Corey Perry have scored more goals than Kessel.
To prepare my list (below), I included any player who found their way into the Top 10 of goal scorers from the 2010-11 season until today. From there, I added their goal production for each of the four and a half seasons. Kessel ranks fourth on this list of 32 players.
Despite the team’s struggles this year, Kessel is on pace to score 30 goals and was on pace to score 34 in the lockout shortened season of 2012-13. That would mean that Kessel would have scored 30 or more in each and every season he has spent in Toronto. He also tallied 36 in his final season in Boston and as such, he is effectively a seven-time 30 goal scorer in his nine year career.
Kessel is captured in some impressive company in the lead photo of this story. In addition, he has also out performed some talented scorers such as John Tavares, Patrick, Kane, Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and many others.
Some will question Kessel’s work ethic and anyone who has watched a Leafs game, will know that number 81 does coast through some shifts. That said, he is very durable despite being a little on the smaller size. Kessel has not missed a game in the 350 Toronto games since the beginning of the 2010-11 season.
While I haven’t checked the other 31 players on this list, I would be surprised if there are many other players who could say the same.
Kessel is signed through until the 2021-22 season, so there is no sense of urgency being created by any upcoming unrestricted free agent status.
Often times, we hear that the price for such a player is a roster player, a prospect and a first round pick. In my mind, that is not enough for one of the top five goal scorers in the game. I think the price has to start with one of the players on this list and something else – depending on who the first player is.
I recognize that there needs to be change but moving Kessel just to “shake things up”, could end up being a costly error for the Maple Leafs. Nothing wrong with listening to offers, but if it is not a significant return – the Leafs would be making a mistake in trading Phil Kessel.