Maple Leafs Trade Thoughts: Phil Kessel and Montreal

Phil Kessel‘s future with the Maple Leafs is still unknown – and likely will be for a while.

Lyle Richardson cites an article from Matt Larkin of The Hockey News where Larkin suggests the Montreal Canadiens should pursue Phil Kessel.

Larkin proposes this trade scenario as an idea:

“Could Toronto squeeze big center Jacob De La Rose, goalie prospect Zach Fucale and a 2015 first-rounder out of Bergevin? Seems fair. If I’m the Leafs, I would start by aiming higher and ask for Alex Galchenyuk and a first rounder.” (The Hockey News)

The initial idea – De La Rose, Fucale and 2015 1st – is great for Montreal, but not so much for Toronto. If the Leafs are going to trade Phil Kessel he’ll be able to net them a first round pick higher than 26th overall. De La Rose is of no use for them and does little to help the present or future of the Maple Leafs.

Acquiring Fucale would be a great thought, but not at the expense of a top ten goal scorer over the last several years.

As far as Galchenyuk and a first, that doesn’t really do much either. The pick is still 26th overall and Galchenyuk hasn’t shown himself any more valuable than Nazem Kadri at this point.

If the Leafs are going to deal Phil Kessel they need an adequate return. I’m not against inter-division trades, or even deals to arch nemesis, but Montreal and Toronto just don’t seem like a fit for a Phil Kessel trade.

A more viable option for Toronto – if they are going to trade him – would be to gauge Ray Shero’s interest in New Jersey in hopes of acquiring another top ten pick in the draft.

Toronto doesn’t have to trade Phil Kessel, so making a bad trade just for the sake of dealing him would be counter productive to the rebuilding process.