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Time Is Right To Move Kessel

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

Well, with the club having fallen into a deep crevice that already threatens to affect next year, as new coach Randy Carlyle is already finding his record stained by this troop of players, Burke has now fallen upon decision time for his signature player.

Fish or cut bait time. And cutting bait makes the most sense.

For starters, Kessel isn’t a Carlyle player and he’s not going to be. In this spectacular 18-game crash that began after that impressive Saturday night victory in Ottawa, Kessel has continued to produce numbers — seven goals and 11 assists — but hasn’t asserted himself in any way as a player who can carry or lead a struggling team.

He’s not to blame for the shocking state of this hockey club. No single player is. If there weren’t terms on contracts and a salary cap in place, the Leafs could just carry on with him indefinitely.

But the money matters complicate things. Kessel has two more seasons left on his current contract, after which he becomes an unrestricted free agent. So the clock is already ticking on the next commitment that will have to be made to him if he’s to remain a Leaf beyond his 26th birthday.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: phil+kessel

Comments

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Better dump the Yank before he gets good, or it will be too late and you have to accept him.

Posted by timbits on 03/15/12 at 01:37 AM ET

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Please get him out of there.  he will be fine somewhere else away from the hockey snobs who think no one can play hockey except a Canadian.  Glad they always have a skapegoat.

Posted by 13 user names on 03/15/12 at 03:51 AM ET

BrendonR's avatar

The fans here generally love Kessel; if anything his quiet and humble demeanour comes across as more ‘Canadian’ than most of his teammates.  He’s also still relatively young with a 50-goal upside, and has great chemistry with Lupul.  Damien Cox is a total blowhard most of the time and generally has no clue what he’s talking about.  No one ever said Kessel was going to be the Leafs’ franchise centerpiece.  The kid scores goals and at the time he was signed the Leafs had exactly zero goal scorers.

Posted by BrendonR on 03/15/12 at 06:56 AM ET

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If Kessel, who’s from America, can put up big numbers, imagine what Kadri, who’s from Ontario, will do in the same minutes. Heck, trade Kessel and maybe you can even get Jared Staal for him, then you’d have 2 Ontarians to take his place. MIRITE DAMO?

Posted by larry from pitt on 03/15/12 at 02:52 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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