Monday, March 8, 2010
On September 19, 2009 the Toronto Maple Leafs traded away their first and second round picks in the 2010 draft along with their 2011 first round pick to acquire 36 goal scorer Phil Kessel from the Boston Bruins. Leafs Nation for the most part jumped for joy as the team had acquired a 21 year old sniper and top six forward for the squad.
The Toronto Sports papers, radio stations and Canadian Sports stations had tons of praise and were quick to pat Leafs GM Brian Burke for making a bold move since the drafts over the next two years were predicted to be weak, comments on more of a positive manner were posted all over the internet on blogs and sports websites, fans texted their non Leaf friends to let them know watch out the Leafs were finally moving in the right direction.....fast forward to March 8, 2010 and pandemonium has broken out all over the same places in less then 6 months, terrible trade, the Leafs continue to throw away their draft picks, Kessel will never be a guy the team can build around, Burke made a big mistake are some of the comments that are being made now. Take a CHILL Leafs Nation.
Brian Burke deserves a chance to build this team and he can now claim to have fully blown up the squad, save for one piece (Kaberle), which he should take care of in the summer. Burke can now claim that this is his team and he will continue to do what he feels will get this team in the right direction. Phil Kessel has scored 22 goals this season in 53 games while missing 12 games. He would be on pace to score 34 goals over an 82 game schedule not bad for a sniper playing with what many would say has not been any top centers.
The Leafs sit 29th in the league and the Boston Bruins look set to acquire Tyler Hall or Tyler Seguin in this seasons draft, two very promising forwards that many consider to be franchise players but as of yet have proved nothing in the NHL. Their is no denying that this trade could come back to haunt the Leafs but how many will actually care if Kessel is scoring 50 goals a season which is not that far fetched with the right centermen, that could be Tyler Bozak as his play continues to improve or it can be Nazem Kadri or another player not yet on the roster.
Leafs Nation needs to make a decision, they can continue to debate this trade until they are blue in the face (which many must already be), but remember it will not change that this trade is done. Kessel is a Leaf and Seguin or Hall will not be in the blue and white, this trade will be better analyzed in three to four years, not today not tomorrow and not next week so lets stop the crying, the whining and the pouting and if the trade bothers you that much, don't watch the draft and if this mistake bothers you to the point that you can't bare to follow the Leafs any longer then move on there are 29 other teams in the NHL you can have your pick but the pessimism needs to end and it should end now. The time to get over the Phil Kessel trade is now and the time to give up on Burke after just 16 months has not yet come. Onward Leafs Nation the horizon looks a bit brighter then it did less then six months ago.