Will they? Won't they? There was all kinds of speculation, as to whether or not the Toronto Maple Leafs would actually move Phil Kessel before the beginning of the regular season, as there were good arguments going either way.
Sure enough, the deal was struck on July 1st, as teams try to restructure themselves and form a new and/or better identity. The Pittsburgh Penguins were in need of that restructuring and they took a huge step with this deal.
|Phil Kessel||F||27||25||61||$8 mil|
|Conditional 2nd Round Draft Pick|
|Nick Spaling||F||26||9||27||$2.2 mil|
|2016 3rd Round Draft Pick|
|Conditional 1st Round Draft Pick|
Without going into too much detail, the deal has a lot of working pieces, with Kessel being the main piece going to Pittsburgh, while the main piece coming back to Toronto was 2014 1st round pick, Kasperi Kapanen.
Kessel still has the hands of a goal scorer, even if he only scored 25 goals last season with the Leafs, but it was a very trying season, where there were no breaks for some poor results and more questions, when they had some good results.
Kessel will now join a team with two world class centres and a market where he isn't the biggest fish and the most interesting person to talk to, so there is a fine chance that he'll settle in quickly and do a lot of damage right away.
With this deal, you can tell that the Toronto Maple Leafs will definitely have a different look to it and a number of promising prospects in the system will highlight how far they can go and how quickly they get there. Kapanen has some real upside and the franchise is likely looking forward to seeing how well he might mesh with their own 2014 1st rounder, William Nylander.
Either way, both teams will be fun to put projections together for, thanks to this trade.