As the chant of â€˜Thank you Kesselâ€™ rang through my ears while watching the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Boston Bruins last night I could not help but feel the need to comment on how ridiculous that cheerÂ actually was.Â Ok, I know they were just attempting to be clever but are they really all that thankful that a guy with 37 goals in his past 78 games is not on their team anymore?
For those curious Kesselâ€™s goal pace since joining Toronto is actually the best mark of his career, without Marc Savard.Â Imagine he still had a legitimate playmaking centre or a stronger winger riding shotgun?Â That is not meant to offend Matt Stajan, Mikael Grabovski, John Mitchell, Tyler Bozak etc but none of them have the proven track record or playmaking ability a guy like Marc Savard has.
But for a win now team like Boston that was second to dead last in scoring in the 2009-10 season (eight less goals than the Leafs actually) what good were Tyler Seguin and Jared Knight (player used with the Leafs second round pick) for them when they were in desperate need of goals on countless nights last year?Â They certainly could have used Kessel in the midst of blowing a 3-0 series lead against the Philadelphia Flyers in their playoff series last season, a shameful, embarrassing defeat and black eye for the city of Boston.
Last season the trade was essentially a lose-lose for both teams as the Leafs with Kessel finished second last and missed a chance to add two good youngsters in the draft while the Bruins without Kessel were one of the worst offensive teams in hockey who definitely couldâ€™ve used him in their playoff run.Â The common thread was how bad the trade looked for Toronto and how Boston totally ripped us off and made out like a bandit.Â If youÂ feel this wasn’t necessarily a great moveÂ for the Leafs (which many people have), fine, but you have to call it a bad trade for the Bruins as well looking how last season transpired.
However moving forward and early into the new 2010/11 season it appears Phil Kessel is a man on a mission.Â He looks quicker, stronger, better conditioned and more determined to have a huge offensive season for the Leafs and as mentioned above now has 37 goals in 78 career games with the Maple Leafs â€“ a pretty impressive statistic.
Tyler Seguin while an extremely promising prospect is currently on a Bruins checking line and Jared Knight is with the London Knights in the OHL.Â Besides, if Claude Julien has his way the Bruins will play with 5 skaters in front of their net the entire game and it will be pretty hard for a player with Seguinâ€™s skill set to ever truly maximize his scoring and offensive potential with a fairly stifling defensive system he [Julien] prefers to utilize.
By the end of 2010/11 it will be Leafs/Kessel 50+ goals to the Bruins/Seguin 15 goals and if the Leafs can continue to hang tough this season and keep that next first round draft pick out of the top 8-10 picks, there will be only one more thing to say (or chant), â€œThank You Bruinsâ€.