Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Requisite Kessel Post Part 1

You would be hard pressed to find a single Blog, nay, a single publication, in Leaf Land, which did not have at least one story/post about the now much talked about Kessel trade.

well your gonna have too keep on lookin'

When I first heard about the flubbed deal between Chiarelli and Saint Burke, I thought it insane, the asking price of Kaberle and our 7th pick which turned out too be Nazem Kadri.

My first impression was that Kessel for one first rounder would be over paying, and then there was reports of a first and second rounder, and once again I though my eyes were deceiving me.

About 3 days before the trade was actually made, I first came the oft cited reports from ESPN for two first rounders and a second and i was 100% certain it was either an error, or completly untrue. Maybe they meant a first and two seconds?

I was watching the Leafs play the Pittsburgh Penguins on my computer on a free Leafs TV preview, when I first heard the trade had been made for two first and a second, and that Burke would hold a news conference after the game. My immediate reaction was Disgust. Visions of Luongo and Niedermayer danced in my head like sugar-plums. not a creature was stirring not even a mouse!

After the Burkes conference, I will still pissed, because i thought he should have Offer Sheeted him, and have given a First, Second, and Third, instead of two Firsts and a Second.

I went to listen too Andy Frost on AM 640, (1800-267-2001 Alarm Force. Alarm Force is listed on the TSX) and he had some callers who had the very same thoughts as me, but he also had some callers who made me begin too think differently about the trade.

I also came across some blogs over the next two or three days, which also helped my thinking change, and the trade has been slowly growing on me ever since.

My reasoning is as such:

The leafs without kessel, were already a vastly improved team over last year, they easily have a top ten defense core, if not top 5.

The offense , has had additions like Bozak, Stalberg and Hanson, but they also have rookies and sophomores who are expected too have big seasons, such as Grabovski, Kulemin, Tlusty, Mitchell, Etc.

The Goaltending is probably the most important factor in this years success, with a hopefully healthy Toskala, and the reincarnation of Jesus in Gustavsson, there is potential for a grate improvement, although, when you have the worst goaltending in the league, there is really only one direction too go. not too mention Gustavsson has publicly stated his intention to try and steal the starting position from Toskala, and I am sure the competition will be healthy between them.

When you take all this into account, plus the new training regime that has the Leafs in much improved fitness (they are using the same guy who created Lance Armstrong's training regimen)
you have a team that is destined too at least get 9th in the Conference, but more realistically, 7th or 8th. Remember though, this is without Kessel. Now that Kessel has landed, this improves the much maligned forward corps dramatically, and if everything was the same as this Year, the Leafs finishing in 9th spot, would have them drafting at about 18th overall, and the year after that, likely higher, with Burke at the helm, and all the young guns from this year beginning to enter the NHL.

Carlo Colaiacovo was drafted 17th overall in 2001 and Jiri Tlusty was taken 11th overall in 2006.

These are the 18th picks from 1998 to 2008

1998:Dimitri Kalinin
1999:Konstantin Koltsov
2000:Brooks Orpik
2001:Jens Karlsson
2002:Denis Grebeshkov
2003:Eric Fehr
2004:Kyle Chipchura
2005:Ryan Parent
2006:Chris Stewart
2007:Ian Cole
2008:Chet Pickard

There isnt a single player who I would trade for Phil Kessel,I do however realize that there is still another Second rounder in the same year and then a First the year after,However, if all goes according to plan the Leafs would do even better, maybe drafting 22nd-25th and we get into lower and lower caliber players.

it is also interesting too note that Kessel was taken 5th overall in 2006 and only one player (Jordan Staal) has played more games then him who is from the same draft year. and even if you go back to the 2005 draft, which is the year previous, only 2 players(Sidney Crosby and Anze Kopitar) have played more games then Kessel, and they have an extra year on him. That's pretty elite company.

This post is getting too long, and I didn't really get too fully explain why I am starting too like this trade, I will post Part two either tomorrow or the day after, and will get into some concrete numbers and examples probably, and i will borrow some pages from other blogs where they did some number crunching of their own and try and bring it all together.

In the future I will try to keep the posts shorter, as well as work on my grammar and punctuation, but it is late, and I was never good in English class.

-Alex N

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