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I thought that Christmas would be calm and sweet for the Bruins, but a column, written by Kevin Paul Dupont, suggesting that Phil Kessel could be on the trade market, fired up boards and forums. I think it’s time for me to weigh in.
What can I say? A young, promising player, on the block, because his offensive production declines (a bit) while he’s learning to play on both sides of the rink? What’s the problem here? Well … there’s no problem. However, it illustrates how short-sighted Kevin Paul Dupont is. This is not the first time that KDP has written a column about trading young players. He wrote the same thing about Brad Boyes, Hannu Toivonen and Milan Jurcina. These three players were qualified as “strugglers” by Dupont, but became very decent NHL’ers elsewhere.
Phil Kessel had 29 points in 70 games in his first season (where he successfully recovered from a cancer) while Joe Thornton had 5 points in 55 games in his first season. Of course, through the years, KPD was all over Thornton and criticized him on many occasions. When Thornton was traded, Dupont was the first to applaud, but the final result was disastrous, at the very best, for the Bruins. Of course, KDP blamed Mike O’Connell for not getting a good “return,” but the fact of the matter is that Dupont was dead wrong in his evaluation of Thornton.
There’s a general rule in every sport that says that “developing young kids takes time.” The Bruins hit rock-bottom for years because of their unwillingness to be patient with their young players. They adopted an ill-conceived strategy where a long-term building process is replaced by some free agent signings. Sadly for the Bruins, it didn’t work, but this result is not surprising since the New York Rangers adopted this same strategy for years, yielding pathetic results. Once again, it raise this hard and, yet simple, question: Does this organization ever learn?