Kukla's Korner Hockey
A Maple Leafs general manager probably hasn’t acted with this much bully power since Conn Smythe was running the franchise years ago.
-Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding at USA TODAY. More on Burke and the Kessel deal.
from Damian Cox of the Toronto Star,
The Kessel trade, of course, fits with Burke’s make-a-big-splash-early history. He moved heaven and earth to land Chris Pronger for Hartford. He bagged the Sedin twins for Vancouver. Now he’s arm-twisted the unwilling Bruins into trading Kessel.
Of course there is risk for the Leafs, but arguably greater risk for Boston, which acquired Kessel through the draft just three years ago as a franchise-type player and may be unable to turn their newly acquired first-round picks into NHL talent.
The Leafs haven’t lost anything tangible yet. The Bruins have.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports,
The Bruins, understanding his strengths and weaknesses, protected him. He instantly becomes the most skilled player on the roster, but the highest-paid one too. In Toronto, that comes with a target.
I’m not convinced that the enormously shy Kessel will be comfortable in the spotlight. A white-hot hockey market is not the best fit for him.
Will he discover the work ethic necessary to become a truly great player? And, can the Leafs find a centre who was as good for him as Marc Savard?
added 8:43pm, Since Darren Dreger broke the news, let’s go to his story…
The drama surrounding Phil Kessel has finally come to an end as the Boston Bruins have traded their disgruntled sniper to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a 1st and a 2nd round pick in 2010, and a 1st round pick in 2011 pending a trade call which is currently underway.
Kessel and the Maple Leafs then quickly agreed to terms on a new five-year, $27 million deal.
continued and below you can check how this story broke early this evening…
Brian Burke, president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Friday evening that the team has obtained the rights to restricted free agent forward Phil Kessel from the Boston Bruins. In exchange, Boston will receive the Maple Leafs’ first-round draft picks in 2010 and 2011 and their second-round draft pick in 2010. Kessel and the Maple Leafs agreed to terms on a multi-year contract following the trade
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Some won’t believe he’ll ever be comfortable in his own skin, which by itself raises the issue of how will he handle the boondoggle that is Toronto hockey. You can’t hide in Toronto. Some players love that. Some get eaten up by it.
When I spoke to Kessel at the USA Olympic camp, he did seem more grown up. He did make eye contact. He didn’t look at his shoes the way he had in previous conversations.
He will be traded before his Oct. 2 birthday because the Bruins must be under the salary cap by the start of the season. They may even do better in a trade than they would have had someone signed an offer sheet for Kessel.
Kessel will be paid somewhere above $4.5 million US a year, which would entitle the Bruins to a first-, second- and third-round draft pick. The Leafs will pay that much for him, probably more.
added 9:13am, via John Glennon of the Tennessean,
The Predators have offered a combination of draft picks and prospects to Boston for forward Phil Kessel, General Manager David Poile said Wednesday.
“I certainly believe in being aggressive and persistent and going after what I want. But I’ve made it clear what we can do,’’ Poile said. “It’s fairly apparent what other teams are doing.’‘
There have been reports saying Toronto is willing to give up two first-round draft picks and a second-rounder for Kessel.
“If (Chiarelli) gets two firsts and a second, he’s getting really good compensation,’’ Poile said. “But it is all in the eye of the beholder for a 21-year-old player who scored 36 goals.’‘
from Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail,
It is generally conceded that Allaire was brought in mainly to help Jonas Gustavsson, the Swedish free-agent goalie who was widely considered the best goalie not playing in the NHL. Gustavsson, of course, has been sidelined by a non-invasive heart procedure that necessitated an incision through his groin. Toskala started last night and played 24:01 and stopped 14 of 15 shots and his workload this weekend will be determined by how he feels today.
“Been awhile,” Toskala said afterward, grinning. “I’m not 100 per cent comfortable yet. But that’s normal. I just wanted to have fun, to play again.”
Burke describes Gustavsson as a “B-plus,” goalie. “What we mean by that is a butterfly-plus guy,” Burke said. “Gustavsson plays the butterfly but he is still very athletic but can make saves with his feet or his hands.
“Most guys are butterfly guys. Even the hybrid guys are 80 per cent.”
Allaire goes out of his way to avoid being doctrinaire as he discusses his role. His job, he says, is to stress controlled movement – “how, when and where … timing is important,” he said. He is a consultant; Corey Hirsch is still listed as goaltending coach.
from Kevin McGran of the Toroto Star,
Jonas Gustavsson, the Maple Leafs’ hightly touted rookie goaltender, is out for two days after minor surgery today.
The Leafs said Gustavsson underwent cardiac ablation, which is a non-invasive type of heart surgery.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Only four forwards (Jason Blake, Niklas Hagman, Mikhail Grabovski and Colton Orr) and four defencemen (Mike Komisarek, Francois Beauchemin, Luke Schenn and Kaberle) have contracts with the club for next season. No goaltenders are committed beyond this season, with Vesa Toskala poised to become unrestricted next summer.
Right now, there seems to be little urgency on the part of the hockey club to get any of these players signed, although it’s possible centre John Mitchell could be an exception. If Mitchell has the kind of season the Leafs hope he can have, he could demand significant dollars next summer, so signing him now might be the smart move for the Leafs.
Hockey idealism, of course, suggests all any red-blooded player wants to do is win a Stanley Cup, but of course, reality is different. Establishing full-time NHL credentials or achieving salary ambitions are understandably motivations for many players, which means playing through the final year of a contract sometimes motivates some athletes to deliver their best performances.
from Damian Cox of the Toronto Star,
It’s believed he wants to join the Leafs and he’s already familiar with Burke and head coach Ron Wilson through his association with the U.S. Olympic program.
But the fact he doesn’t want to play for the Bruins doesn’t necessarily make it any easier for the Leafs to get their mitts on him.
For starters, the B’s can match any free agent offer sheet for Kessel, something Chiarelli has said he would do. The Bruins’ GM is apparently no longer crazy about dealing Kessel inside the Northeast Division, and Kaberle can no longer be included in any trade proposal now that his no-trade clause has kicked in again.
Burke and Chiarelli have held trade talks and it’s believed the Leafs are willing to pay more for Kessel than the compensation required if he were signed to an offer sheet. If a contract offer came between $3.9 million and $5.2 million per season, the Bruins would receive first-, second- and third-round draft picks as compensation.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
We’ll say this: if the NHLPA pulls its collective head out of its butt before this deal sneaks past, they should be making some phone calls. Considering Burke’s complaints that Lowe overpaid for Penner, thus raising the salary bar for those of his ilk, then the PA should be eager to know if any discussions between GMs involves establishing a perhaps more cost-effective level for Kessel.
In fact, we’re e-mailing this column straight to our choice as the next union leader, Bonnie Lindros.
Burke is one of the most competitive men we’ve ever met. He sweats while watching a rugby game on TV — we’ve seen it.
But does warning a fellow GM that you intend to legally acquire one of his players have any place in the same sentence with the word “competitiveness?”
In this case, might the words “honourable” and “collusion” amount to the same thing?
An animated Brian Burke discussed the rumours with reporters Tuesday at the team’s training facilities in Toronto.
“I do not contemplate an offer sheet to Phil Kessel at this time,” Burke told reporters.
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