Toronto Maple Leafs: Why Phil Kessel Must Go

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Mar 14, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel (81) awaits the start of play against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

This article is most likely to make some fans’ blood boil so let’s get something out of the way quickly. Phil Kessel is one of the most gifted players that has ever worn the Toronto Maple Leafs logo on their chest. He is certainly the most talented player to play in this city since Mats Sundin.

Is he one of the most offensively explosive players in the NHL today? Of course. There will be no arguments contained in this article to suggest otherwise.

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As the Leafs set out to start something they have never done, a full-blown scorched earth rebuild, we need to ask ourselves one question. Does Phil Kessel belong on this team? Is this the kind of personality an organization wants in a dressing room filled with young players seeking direction? The answer to that question may have been provided by Kessel himself who has shown a steady decline in many areas in recent months.

I ask only one thing of anybody who is about to read ahead. Please keep an open mind. With that being said, let’s look at the different areas that may have thrown up a red flag for the Toronto Maple Leaf over the past few months. These same red flags are probably the same ones that are keeping teams away from making serious offers to the Leafs to acquire him.

Next: Coachability