Phil Kessel: Anatomy Of A Leafs Trade

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Phil Kessel is exactly the kind of player the Leafs’ will need in a few years time, but they don’t need him right now.

Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports


Who knows if Phil Kessel will be traded by tomorrow night or even this weekend. The good news for the Leafs is, there isn’t a rush to do so. Phil is and will continue to be an elite level goal scorer, and in a league where goal scoring is going down and is becoming a premium, he will continue to have value. If the Leafs find an offer that they think has enough value, then he will be moved (my money is on Islanders, Predators or a team in Pennsylvania). If they do not find the market will cough up enough for him, then they don’t have to move him.

The trade will most likely boil down to;

1st Round Pick

Young NHL Roster Player

Top Young Prospect

And the Leafs taking back a “bad” contract or two, but will not involve them retaining salary.

Of Kessel’s NTC approved list – which very well may be updated before Wednesday – I can almost guarantee that LA, Chicago, NY Rangers will not happen, while a trade with Boston, Minnesota and Pittsburgh probably won’t happen. Montreal and Philadelphia are probably the only teams on his list where a plausible deal could happen.

That being said, it has long been speculated that if approached, Kessel would waive his NTC and accept a trade to anywhere the team wanted to send him within reason. Based on the cap situations for all of those teams, it is still far more likely that the Leafs deal him outside of his NTC approved list.

Let’s revisit our proposed trade scenarios…

Of those trades the best return for the Leafs is definitely from the Flyers or Bruins, but the most realistic is the Predators or Canadiens packages. Phil Kessel is Toronto’s most valuable and most talented player, he could also be the biggest key to their rebuild. To check out where the rest of the EditorInLeaf team sees Kessel going click here.

So we’ve complete our anatomical breakdown of a Phil Kessel trade. Who do you think makes the most sense as a trading partner? Which – if any – of the proposed deals are the best for the Leafs? Will the Leafs end up having to keep some of his salary? Let me know in the comments below! You can also give me a shout on Twitter @TorrinBatchelor

Next: More Phil Kessel Mock Trades

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