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Phil Kessel Traded to Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs finally pulled off a trade for Bruins restricted free agent Phil Kessel Friday night, sending two first round picks and a second round pick for the 21-year-old winger. Last year, Kessel led the Bruins with 36 goals, helping his team achieve the Eastern Conference’s best record.

After the trade, Kessel signed a five-year, $27 million contract, which is much more guaranteed money than he would have ever received with the Bruins. The B’s valued Kessel around $3-4 million, and the two sides could not agree on a deal this offseason. Soon after contract talks broke off, the Bruins and Leafs completed the deal.

Earlier in the offseason, the two teams had a miscommunication, as the Bruins thought they agreed to trade Kessel for defenseman Tomas Kaberle and a first round pick. The Leafs, on the other hand, thought they agreed to trade Kaberle for Kessel and a first-rounder, and both sides stopped talking…for a while. After the Bruins signed Derek Morris, they no longer expressed interest in Kaberle.

Trade Analysis

Kessel never saw eye-to-eye with Claude Julien, and often found himself in the dog house during his two seasons with the coach. Julien believes in a defense-first system, and the offensive-minded Kessel just didn’t fit the way the team wanted. They didn’t value Kessel the way he valued himself, and now he is gone.

Maybe Kessel was a jerk behind the scenes, but a 21-year-old winger that scores 36 goals is a rare commodity. He could have improved his off-the-ice ethics, along with his defensive abilities, with time and experience. Now, the Bruins will need to find someone to replace the 35+ goal potential, and will probably have to find that talent in-house (like Michael Ryder or Blake Wheeler?).

About KC Downey - @kc_downey

KC is the "head coach" of the Sports of Boston, LLC blog network. Follow him on Twitter: @kc_downey

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4 comments for “Phil Kessel Traded to Maple Leafs”

  1. Phil Kessel Traded to Maple Leafs: The Toronto Maple Leafs finally pulled off a trade for Bruins forward Phil Ke..

    Posted by Sports of Boston | September 18, 2009, 10:59 pm
  2. […] mercurial winger is gone, sent packing in a trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and truth be told, there’s a whole lot of blame to go around in this one, on both sides of […]

    Posted by Plenty of Blame To Go Around In Kessel Saga | Sports of Boston | September 20, 2009, 1:28 pm
  3. […] 2008-2009 campaign, and none of the staffers expect the Bruins to falter much, even considering the the Phil Kessel trade. Few of us expect the Canadiens to make the playoffs, in part because they had such a large roster […]

    Posted by 2009-2010 NHL Pick ‘Em: Who’s Going to the Playoffs? | Sports of Boston | October 2, 2009, 5:41 pm
  4. […] with a 3-4-0 record, a horrendous power play, and an even worse penalty kill. Coupled with the departure of Phil Kessel and Milan Lucic’s broken finger, Boston has lost its first line from last year for at least […]

    Posted by Marc Savard Out 4-6 Weeks With Broken Foot | Sports of Boston | October 21, 2009, 11:22 am

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