Phil Kessel: The Mock Trades Roundtable

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Nov 15, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Phil Kessel (81) before a game against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Chiasson

A Kessel to Florida trade without Jonathan Huberdeau – crazy, I know.

The Florida Panthers weren’t on Phil Kessel’s last rumored acceptance list, but I’d be willing to be that he wouldn’t mind heading to sunny Florida if he had the chance.

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In this deal the Leafs get a solid, young, top-four defender in Dimitri Kulikov and a good young forward in Vincent Trochek. Both of the players are possession savvy – keeping in line with the Toronto Maple Leafs new theme.

The Leafs also pick up the Panthers 11th overall selection this year as well as a 2nd round pick in next year’s draft. Rather than obtain Huberdeau, I opted to get Trochek and an additional pick. I think both pieces fit better than Huberdeau does. Toronto already has a Huberdeau – his name is Nazem Kadri.

Zero salary retained by the Maple Leafs in this deal because, well, they don’t have to. Brian Campbell will be off the books for Florida next year so they can use Kessel as an offensive weapon and salary cap bump all rolled into one beautiful package.

Kulikov (24) and Trochek (21) are at the right age for acquisition and the Leafs would get another valuable young player with the 11th overall pick. The Panthers get an elite goal scorer to play in the top-six and push for the playoff spot they look to be headed for already in 2015-2016.

The deal nets Toronto just over $3M in cap space gains.

Next: Torrin Batchelor