<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/images/upload/2009/09/kessel_burke_205x115.jpg" class="imageFloatRightFramed">An abysmal team like the Leafs already get too much attention on these boards without me tossing my two cents into the growing pile of change, but I simply have to get something off my chest.
I want to know exactly what the hell the Leafs were thinking with that Kessel deal. Seriously, what were they thinking when they did that deal?
I really like Dave Nonis and think his unwavering commitment to his own vision was what eventually led to his dismissal in Vancouver. I have generally agreed with Dave's thinking – even the Chouinard and and Bulis signings, which were calculated gambles that didn't pan out – but Kessel?
Let's look at this.
The deal was Kessel for a first and a second round pick in 2010, and a first round pick in 2011.
Toronto just stinks. That's a given. They are guaranteed a bottom five finish for this season and next – barring some <a href="
<img src="http://blog.ugo.com/images/uploads/snake_plissken_efny.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Assuming <a href="
I will try to apply some real-world perspective on this by looking back a few seasons.
Let's say the dice don't roll the Leafs' way and they end up with third overall picks this year and next, and never do get a first-overall (as we know the NHL uses a weighted lottery system to determine which of the bottom five teams actually get the first overall pick). And for the sake of this discussion, let's ignore the fact that experts are as high on the 2010 draft class as <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Feiw_etAra0" target=_new>Britney is on Youtube</a>.
We'll also ignore the past three drafts because those youngsters have yet to really find their game at the NHL level.
So, exactly what did the Leafs surrender to acquire Kessel?
The top five picks in 2006 were: Erik Johnson, Jordan Staal, Jonathan Toews, Nicklas Backstrom and yes, Phil Kessel himself. Assuming the Leafs hit the sweet spot and picked third, they would have Toews.
We have to throw out 2005 because it was the post-lockout draft and was as ripe with two season's worth of talent, but the top five was: Sidney Crosby, Bobby Ryan, Jack Johnson, Benoit Pouliot and Carey Price. For the record, it would've been Johnson.
<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/blackhawks/images/upload/2009/08/CB306x172.gif" class="imageFloatRightFramed">The 2004 year went: Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Cam Barker, Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler. Again, eliminating the possibility that the Leafs might've actually gone off the chart and dipped for a player like, say Wojtek Wolski (21st) or Mike Green (29th), the Leafs would've ended up with Barker.
The third pick in 2003? Nathan Horton. In 2002, Jay Bouwmeester. In 2001, Aleander Svitov. In 2000, Marian Gaborik.
The top second round picks from 2006 and earlier were: Tomas Kana, James Neal, Alex Edler & Johan Franzen, Patrice Bergeron & Shea Weber, Jarret Stoll & Trevor Daley.
THUS, we can project that the Leafs gave up a Jonathan Toews and Cam Barker (and possibly Nathan Horton/Jay Bouwmeester), along with a second round player that's somewhere between Tomas Kana, Johan Franzen and Shea Weber.
Good deal? What the hell were they thinking?
Ignoring the possibility that the two-headed Burk-onis creature is actually an evil double agent and is doing the rest of Canada a favour by running the franchise into the ground, the only other plausible explanation is that the duo has already abandoned their plan to build through the draft, and instead, attempting to secure a solid young player like Kessel who they can build around in free agency.
Either that or they're just drunk. It's 50/50.