Hard to believe that it’s been almost seven seasons and two Stanley Cups (for him) since Phil Kessel played for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Kessel, you may remember, signed an eight-year extension to stay in Toronto and was traded a season later. The fifth best player in modern Leafs history (after Matthews, Marner, Sundin and Gilmour) Kessel is denied LEGENDARY STATUS only because the team failed so badly to build around him.
Despite that, make no mistake, Kessel is one of of the best players to ever put on the blue and white.
At this point, he’s an iron-man and not much else. He is four years removed from his last 30 goal season, his WAR is nothing to write home about.
Kessel, however, could potentially be revitalized by a return to the Leafs, and getting to play down in the lineup. Much like Jason Spezza, Kessel could probably dominate the kinds of players he’d face on the fourth line, and he’s make the second power-play much better.
The Leafs are already paying him about a million dollars, so maybe there is a way to work it out so they only pay $4 million of his cap hit. Maybe there is a way to fit him in there near the end of the season.
There is, honestly, probably better ways for the Toronto Maple Leafs to spend their money. That said, sometimes realism is boring. Though it likely won’t happen, I would love to see Phil Kessel back with the Leafs.
His leadership and experience would be helpful, and he’s just an all-round great guy who people love to have around. He’s make the Leafs better, and as a fan, there isn’t too much better than a victory lap from an old favorite.
Short of a Stanley Cup, brining back Kessel is one of the best things I think could happen to the Leafs. (all stats naturalstattrick.com).