Amid the sense of the relief that seemed to sweep over Leafs fans concerning the report that Brendan Shanahan is set to tear things down and commit to the draft,  came this downer moment after the game last night:

Blame a faulty attempt at a fast tracked rebuild, or the flawed thinking behind the timing of the original Kessel trade, or blame Dave Nonis for subsequently dropping the ball on the hand off, but either way it doesn’t change the fact that Phil Kessel is an elite talent who was let down by poor management and things outside his own control. If he does go sometime in the coming months, he’ll be the next in the long line of Leaf greats who aren’t fully appreciated until it was too late. Having to trade elite talent because a team couldn’t supplement it properly is never cause for celebration. If he moves, it won’t take long before Kessel is ripping it up on a much better team, and the same media that started a cottage industry ripping on him here in Toronto will  be taking cracks at the Leafs for his success elsewhere.

Friday Links:

  • Bob McKenzie: Trade deadline will be all about the rentals (TSN 1050)
    Coming off the huge Sabres/Jets deal TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie joins TSN Drive to discuss the implications of the trade, players who could be on the move come trade deadline for the Leafs and what type of deals to look for.

  • Jonas Siegel: Cloud of uncertainty hovers over Leafs, Kessel (
    Casting a watchful eye over his team at the Coliseum, Shanahan declined to discuss the Globe and Mail report and has been reluctant to publicly state his intentions for the team. But with the plan now in plain view, the questions don’t simply stop. What’s to come and how it all shakes down is a question that lingers for every one of those players in Toronto’s room.

  • Dave Hodge: Leafs need to capitalize on other team’s mistakes (TSN Drive)
    Dave Hodge joins TSN Drive with Dave Naylor and Steve Simmons to debate what the plan is in Leafs Land, whether or not the Leafs should rebuild through the draft, what the Leafs should do moving forward and touch on the Sabres/Jets trade.

  • JP Nikota: Immoral victories — Game Recap: Islanders 3, Leafs 2 (PPP)
    Oh yeah, and in case you didn’t hear, Phil Kessel is sounding more and more resigned to the idea of being traded. If you think you can blame him, you’re dumb.

  • Gord Stellick: Draft pick management key to Leafs rebuild (
    As the Edmonton Oilers have discovered, the tear down is easy but the rebuild not so much. Keeping draft choices appears to be the mantra of the current Leaf management. Grabbing the odd legitimate NHL player or two beyond the first-round is imperative.

  • Travis Yost: Playing the percentages in the NHL Draft (
    All this said, I think it’s important to remember that not every scouting contingent or NHL front office operate on a level-playing field – there are teams that simply do it better than others, and that can skew the odds a bit. Even with that caveat, I still think it’s beneficial to treat each pick or picks like chances at winning a lottery. Once we start thinking of draft picks as ‘future NHL players’ instead of simple selections in a snake process, we’ll better recognize when a package is worth accepting, and when a package is worth rejecting.


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