Latest Leafs and Predators Rumors – March 16, 2012.

Phil Kessel’s trade value is debated, plus the latest on Alexander Radulov’s possible return to the Predators. 


Could Burke trade Kessel?

TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski reported on Phil Kessel’s potential trade value in the wake of his colleague Damien Cox yesterday suggesting the Leafs should trade the winger. Questioning “NHL insiders and GMs” about Kessel’s trade value, it’s believed he could perhaps fetch Columbus’ Rick Nash in a package deal, or a first round pick.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: James Mirtle recently reported Leafs GM Brian Burke is inclined to retain his first round pick this season, which could potentially be in the top three of this year’s entry draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The longer this speculation over Kessel’s trade value goes unaddressed by Burke, the more it’ll grow, especially for a Toronto media without a team to cover in the upcoming playoffs. Best for Burke to nip this in the bud now, rather than at season’s end. As for his first round pick, if it’s a high one, he’d better retain it, given the brouhaha generated by his trading two first round picks (one of which turned into Tyler Seguin) for Kessel.

THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper reports prodigal winger Alexander Radulov apparently wants to return to the Nashville Predators, but the holdup is his KHL team doesn’t want to let him go before his contract expires on April 30th. Predators coach Barry Trotz believes a decision on Radulov could come soon.

CANOE.CA: cited TVA Sports’ Bob Hartley claimed a Russian source informed him Radulov’s return to the Predators is all but set, as the only hurdle now is he’s awaiting his visa.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lots of conflicting news over when Radulov might join the Predators this season, if ever. We’ll find out soon enough if Hartley’s source is correct.


  1. Kessels worth a first rdr. He scores 30+.

    Anyways, with Crosby back I’m thinking Rangers/Pens are coming out of the east to go to the SCF.

  2. Mark my words Kessel’s goal scoring totals will drop under Carlyles coaching as he continues to mold this team into a defensive first hockey club. Kessel won’t be scoring 30 goals while trying to back check on every play. His ice time has also dropped under Carlyle’s rule because the coach knows he is a defensive liability partly due to Wilson’s coaching style for the past 3 years This summer will likely be the highest his trade value will ever be as a Leaf so if Burke doesn’t plan on getting him that number one center and a big rough, tough scorer on his opposite wing for protection then it’s time to move him while his value is high.

  3. The status of Phil Kessel and this year’s 1st round pick both depend on how the organization assesses the team in the next few months. If Burke & company feel that the team is more than a few pieces away from being a contender, they may be inclined to move Kessel and re-tool the team around the young players they have in the system right now. If the organization is seen as being closer to being in the playoff race than out of it, I believe they peddle the 1st rounder in order to bring in big league help. They could move a package including the pick, Franson and/or Schenn and/or Frattin and/or whoever else for Paul Stastny or comparable player (not Getzlaf, it isn’t happening). It may not even take that much considering Stastny’s boat anchor of a contract.

    Leaf fans can forget about using Komisarek, MacArthur, Armstrong, Kulemin or Kadri as trade bait though. Unless they’re moved along with something else of value (pick or prospect), there’s no way another sucker takes them in a swap.

    The Leafs have several holes in the lineup and can stand to upgrade at pretty much every position, but moving Kessel out right now doesn’t seem like the answer with the team starving for offense. I would imagine a top priority would be a #1 centre that can play all 200 feet of the ice (to make up for Kessel only being able to contribute in one zone), followed by a veteran mentor goalie (funny, I thought they had Giguere under contract last year and let him walk for nada) and some responsible, affordable defensemen to insulate the goaltenders.

    Having a full season of Randy Carlyle at the helm should tighten the team up defensively and give them a fighting chance in most games. With a few key additions and some shrewd personnel moves, the Leafs could be a #6-8 seed in the East next season. If Burke refuses to address the holes in his lineup or decides to start over again with youth, they’ll be a bottom feeding team once again.

  4. @THewes
    I agree with you except on the value of Stastny. I wouldn’t trade any where the value you suggested since he is another over paid under achieving player the Leafs could surely do without (we already have enough of them). If you can’t land a guy like Getlaf then don’t bother going half way with a guy like Stastny because we saw where that gets you (ie Tim Connelly).

    You are right about a big decision having to be made this summer. Therefore if Burke can swallow his pride for a second time (Wilson’s firing was 1st) and admit Kessel isn’t surrounded by the right guys so he either
    1. empties the cuboard and goes out and aquires the right guys to surround Kessel or
    2. moves Kessel for a good pick and prospect and starts a partial rebuild this summer.

    It’s due or die time for Burke, he can’t just sit with what he has now hoping Carlyle can fix this broken roster while tinkering like he did last year bringing in guys like Connelly and Lombardi. Burke created this win now attitude so he got himself in this mess. Most Leaf fans were willing to wait it out on a rebuild when he first arrived and he chose to try and take the fast route.

  5. Re: Getzlaf

    You guys must be sitting in on Ducks management meetings, no way Ducks trade Getzlaf ?
    Maybe, but consider the following:

    Getzlaf’s numbers the past few years

    2008-2009 25 Goals 91 points
    2009-2010 19 Goals 69 points
    2010-2011 19 Goals 76 points
    2011-2012 9 Goals 48 points
    And this playing on a line with Perry & Ryan most the time.

    Point #2 – Ducks have missed the playoffs 2 of last 3 years and the year they made it,
    got bounced out in first round.

    Point #3 Both Getzlaf and Perry have one more year left on their contracts, re-signing both in same year will be a chore, Anaheim cannot spend to the cap limit, they are in effect a small market team
    drawing 13-14-15,000 a game and have limited TV coverage.

    Point#4 This madness of one big line and then having very little at the bottom six forward level is nuts.
    It is a TEAM game not a one line game.

  6. If you could get Nash in a package deal for Kessel I would like to see that happen …….increase in size ..leadership and all around 200 foot player, I would like to see Brian Burke add a quality player in the deal to see if he can get Johanson in that deal as well …something like Kessel & Schenn (or Franson or Colborne)

    One thing to really keep in mind is where the Leafs are right now in team development ….and they are way behind in the Brian Burke rebuild……..and Kessel has one more year next year before his UFA year ….he will obviuosly command a raise ( $7 million) so you have to look at moving him within a year anyways before he goes into his UFA year …most likely he would want to move on and get out of the spotlight of Toronto !

    I think Kessel would bring back at least a Top 6 Roster forward…… NHL ready playing propspect and a draft pick….. IMO to the right team !!!!

    Good trading partners for a Kessel deal would be :

    LA Kings
    Minnesotta Wild

    I dont think Burke will trade his only 1st round pick …..he will shop it HARD and see what he can get and will command a good return …..but in the end there is some really good size in the top 10 players in this years draft …….Colton Sisson……..& Radek Faksa ….could be amazing picks !!!!! better keep this pick as the Leafs will end up with one of these guys if they have done ther homework for a chgange………

    I spent some time last week and went over the last 15 years of drafts for the first 2 rounds …….and WOW !!!!!

    What was this organization thinking ……the players they passed over and the players they picked were so far off the mark it was embarressing …almost 90% of the Leafs drafts were never heard of again …and there was 4 years that they did not even have a first rounder ….and they passed up absolute superstars in the passed 5 years in the draft and took players that are noit even on the farm team where as the players they passed up on are some of the best players in the league right now !!!!!

  7. Kessel is worth way more than a 1st round pick. A 1st rd pick has a 9% chance of becoming a regular player, and a far smaller chance of becoming an elite offensive player. But it makes no sense for the leafs to trade Kessel unless they can get an equal player in return- and those deals don’t happen too often. What they need to to acquire players who are equal or better in talent than Kessel. Trading him for lesser parts only amplifies their problem of too much depth and not enough goods. Kessel has gotten better every season he has played in the NHL. Why would ayone believe this trend to not continue? That would be based on opinion and not fact. The fact is, very few players have scored more goals than Kessel since he joined the Leafs. The fact is he is an impact player with the puck on his stick. The fact is that he improves any team’s powerplay. I am not a Leaf fan, or a Kessel lover, but I will tell you that 29 other teams will be interested in adding that kind of player. I will agree that he is not a #1 building block, but trading him away for anything less than a #1 building block is a pointless move since you still need a #1 and then you will be looking to replace Kessel with a Kessel type down the road. We are talking about a 23 year old kid with lots of time and opportunity. Not a 30 year old player who’s window is closing.

    As fo their 1st rd pick, if it is top-5, they will keep it and draft… if it falls anywhere form 6-10, they will include it in a deal to get a premier player… which is what they should do, IF that kind of player is available…. and they may not be.

    Lets be honest, the Leafs’ season fell apart over the last 18 games. This kind of losing streak is a one-in-a-million. I cannot recall another collaps like this in the last 20 years. It is extremely unlikely that the leafs or any other team will drop that far in the standing again for the next decade (something like 8pts out of a possible 40?). When they had consistent goaltending they were #1 in the East. Remier got hurt and was not able to rebound from that concussion (side note: it took Ryan Miller, a guy with a proven history of being an elite goalie, a long time to regain his level of play). So if the Leafs really want to make a move for the better, they need a TRUE #1 goalie. Not Bernier, Mason, Schneider… they need a legit #1 (Halak, Luongo etc). In a division against Thomas/Rask, Price, Miller… you need a guy who will stand up to them.

    One month ago this team was rolling, and now they can’t seem to do anything right. Part of it is coaching, part of it is a lack of consistency due to their youth and inexperience, and part of it is goaltending. No, i don’t think Reimer is crap. In fact he has a lot of potential, but he needs to play behind a #1 for a couple of seasons before he can be relied on full time (like Rask).

    Another point: MacArthur and Kulemin are not spare parts. Sure, Kulemin has had a terrible season from a production standpoint, but has still played very well. He is a plus player on a terrible defensive team. last season he was around 30 goals. MacArthur had 60+ pts last season and this season is on pace for another good offensive year. Both of these players are legitimate 2nd liners on any pretty much any team in the NHL. If the Pens can roll-out Kunitz and Dupuis (as an example), I see no difference. So if a team is looking for depth, these are the kind of guys who make a differnece and are advantageous because of their age. Kadri is like any other prospect- still a prospect. Nobody can deny his offensive abilities and going back to his scouting report he was projected to be a late bloomer. How long did it take Turis to become a regular NHLer? Logan Couture played how long in the AHL? Kadri still has value as a high end prospect.

  8. @ allforducks… I agree.
    He is an irreplacable player, but they need more depth and he has not been giving them what they need. He doesn’t resign anyways. It pains me to think that they will move him…

  9. @ Chris

    Sure, if you deal Kessel for Nash, Kopitar etc.. you are getting an equal or greater player back.
    To give Kessel and More for Nash? Doenst make sense.


    Throwing this out there for conversation sake ………what would be more in demand for the leafs if they trade Kessel …a forward …Nash type player …Defense …Weber type player ….or Goalie Kipprusoff type player or budding Rookie…….Landeskog type player !!!


  11. @ Nikk

    Wass looking to give CBJ a little more to sweeten the pot to get a Nash Johanson combo …not Kessel for Nash and more staright up ……

    On the Kadri front …….I se this kid maybe not being a prolific goal scorer in numbers …..but my hunch … that Kadri scores one of the biggest goals in franchise history for whatever team he plays for in the future !!!

    He may not be a 40 plus goal scorer ….but he may be a timely goal scorer……I say keep him and he should have been playing a full season this year ….stupid again ….Kadri at $1.5 million and developing ……….or
    W T F …..Tiny Tim Connoly at $4.75 million for 2 years …..W T F …Burke

  12. I think what everyone is forgetting is something called free agency. The Leafs can acquire talent by signing them to a contract and the only thing they lose is cap space while keeping their prospects/assets. I also say the Leafs keep their 1st this year as it is a potential lottery pick.
    I still don’t understand why people think the Leafs should trade a top 10 point scorer, a top 5 goal scorer for Nash (sideways move) or a 1 first (downgrading huge). Kessel type players are not a dime a dozen, they are the guys who win games because you can’t win unless you snipe a couple ginos.
    Is Nash really that big of an upgrade over Kessel? One thing Nash has proved is he does not necessarily make the players around him better. And in regards to Kessel’s defensive liability, well the entire team was a defensive liability under Wilson and this problem should be greatly improved under Carlyle. I also do not think it will decrease Kessel’s point totals. Perry, Getzlaf and Ryan were all able to put up solid point totals while playing a defensively responsible game.

    If Kessel is traded and Chris (aka hukt on Fonix) was right, I am going to have to do some serious self evaluating and potentially end it all hahaa

    Do you guys think Radulov back makes Nashville a serious contender?

  13. If you can do a kessel+ for Nash and Johanson swap, thats a good deal for the leafs, but not so much for CBJ. I doubt they part with Johanson… he is too important to their rebuild.

    I don’t think Kadri si going to be a goal scorer, but he could develop into a Derek Roy type of player- who is very good.

    Dont worry aout Connoly, it doenst matter. Thats the beauty of a 2 year deal. If it doesnt work out in year-1 (it didnt) he can be traded next season at the deadline. No harm, no foul. Its not like they had another player who’s spot Connolly took. Kadri needed to be in the AHL.

  14. @ NikK

    Not a Kessel for Nash & Johanson ……

    Kessel -Schen and Colborne

    Nash -Johanson

    Helps both teams trades a winger for winger and swaps center man and gives CBJ some depth at D fense to sweeten the deal …

    Johanson is potential #1 center with size …..for Leafs

    Colborne may not make it to the NHL …
    Schenn is digressing bigtime …can be replaced by HOLZER
    Kessel wil be replaced with size leadership and equal goals …or just ther abouts !!!

    Good swap…….just throwing it out there ….obvisuosly there is 29 other teams in the mix….

  15. @ Nikk
    I agree with you on that package, Johansen has potential to be a solid #1 center in the NHL but it really depends what the plus you’re giving up is…

  16. A couple of moves I would like to see Burke do; see if Vancouver will trade schneider for our first. It’s most likely going to be a top 5-7 pick which is very good value for a talented yet semi-unproven goaltender. If Vancouver baulks at that offer….forget it. I would only give our first for schneider or a package deal to land a superstar (preferably a center) if no such deal can be made, then try to draft Dumba. Kid is like Schenn (hits like a beast!) with more offense. Then trade Schenn for JVR. Try to move Lombardi and Mac (I like Mac, but if we get JVR then Mac is a tad redundant not getting the top 6 minutes he deserves.) I think the rest of the roster can be slightly tinkered with. Maybe bring in a big bodied/shutdown 3rd line forward.
    I don’t think it’s necessary to move Kessel, or blow up this roster entirely. Yes we’ve missed the playoffs….again, but it’s a very young roster with budding talent. So why move out a bunch of young semi-unproven players (who’s best days are still ahead of them) for a bunch of draft picks who won’t play for a number of years? We don’t need to rebuild, we just need to realize that our current rebuild isn’t happening as fast as we like.

  17. Why is Ryan Johanson’s name even being mentioned?? You can’t just pick a guy you want and say let’s get him. It has to work for both teams. Johanson is the only bright spot in Columbus. Just drafted 4th overall and looks like he has a ton of potential, zero chance they move him for pretty much any deal you can create.

    Burke, please end this Kessel speculation nonsense! Each day he doesn’t address it at this point only feeds the speculation of crazy leafs fans.

    @NikK; small point here, but I wouldn’t consider Toronto’s collapse that epic or great, only because they were playing well beyond their level all season long. Even when they were in first, we all knew (outside of Toronto fans) that they would be a 7-11 team in the end. They simply came back down to earth and their weaknesses were exposed. Still, I’ll agree it was statistically surprising at least.

    @36crazyfists I don’t believe Radulov makes them a contender. I’m a big believer that Nashville’s success is based almost entirely on their disciplined, tight checking system. So to me the question is can Radulov play within that system and not just go out there trying to score goals, which could potentially hurt their team game. Also, after years of dominating lesser talent in the KHL, I think he’s due for a harsh re-awakening against real NHL, physical talent, especially what he’ll see this time of year heading into playoffs. I’m sure he won’t actually end up hurting the team, but I personally don’t think he makes them a serious contender. I know they’ve been great, but I still expect them to lost first round if they play a healthy detroit team.

  18. @ Diceman
    I agree with that 100%…I was also thinking that players from opposing teams might pay a little extra attention to him based on the circumstances. But like you said, if is able to adapt to their system and not be a selfish player, it could really help Nashville strive in the post-season. From what it sounds like
    he’s going to be welcomed back from his teamates so it’s good to see that. I dont necessarily agree with the way Radulov left, but he had the chance to earn more than 6 times what he was earning on his entry level contract in Nashville. One thingI would disagree on though on is I may take nashville over detroit this year…just a feeling.

  19. @ Diceman

    1) Radulov instantly makes Nashville a legit contender …its not like hes a rookie …hes been playing pro for 4 years now and had 20 plus goals on Nashville before he left that season ….CONTENDER !!!

    2) As stated before anyone can be traded ……..Iam sure you would have called us all CRAZY if we had mentioned Brayden Schenn to be traded for Mike Richards ….so anything is possible to improve a team if both parties are willing !!!! Oh yeah Carter was traded to CBJ for a 1st rounder and Voracek too LMAO …that puts that to rest ……

    3) One of the only ways for the leafs to move forward in a rebuild is to improve in major size and Kessel can help with that in a multi player trade which Burke is famous for !!!! Weather he wants to give up on his pet project and swallow his pride is up to him !!!

    4) I DO NOT see Vancouver trading Cory Schnieder …….Luongo will be dealt before he is …hes there future ….Luongo is on the decline …and if they trade Schnieder …..they are in big time trouble and will be like every other team in the Leagues looking for a Legit #1 goalie in two years …then what …they just had one …VANCOUVER WILL NOT MOVE SCHNEIDER !!!!

  20. Columbus won’t move Johansen. He was drafted with the hope of being a frontline contributor and of the building blocks for the team moving forward.

    @ Chris – This is getting ridiculous. You mention a trade involving Nash (superstar scorer) and Johansen (potential #1 centre) then offer up guys like Colborne, Schenn and Kessel who you devalue in your assessment. NHL GM’s don’t trade valuable assets for nothing. In order to get something attractive, you have to move something attractive. If Kessel by himself isn’t enough to get Nash, why would you ever believe that Kessel plus two marginal younger players (that you don’t even think that highly of) will get you Nash AND Johansen?

    If Kadri didn’t inspire confidence from the free-wheeling Ron Wilson, he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of contributing at the NHL level under Carlyle. Kadri will likely be moved in the summer if they can find a taker for him.

    @36 – I already saw Nashville as a serious contender in the West, adding Radulov (if he’s able to gel in the room) just makes them that much scarier.

    @ Durt – I highly doubt Philly will move JVR out for Schenn. In fact, I can’t list an asset from Toronto, aside from this year’s 1st rounder, that would be of any interest by itself for JVR. Philly has added Grossmann which removes the need for Schenn. I could see them asking for a package of Gardiner/Franson, Frattin and a 2nd this year or 1st next year. I think the Flyers organization has seen glimpses of what JVR can do and even though he’s battled injuries a lot this year, aren’t willing to part with him for an 11 minute defenseman. Just my thoughts.

  21. Say the Ducks did trade Getzlaf for Kessel… how do they get a true #1 centre again? They don’t grow on trees… and teams that have them tend not to trade them… You could draft one and wait about 3 yrs until he develops…. I just can’t see Getzlaf moving.

    Trading Kessel for Nash…. so you trade a high-scoring winger for another high-scoring winger… Is that really any different?

    Leafs need a #1 centre to play with Kessel.

    Why would you trade him… This is just Damien Cox trying to get attention… nothing more.

    If the Pens stay healthy… they win the East easily… and probably back to the Stanley Cup. What team from the West is going to stop them?

  22. @Chris I am not (and really will not ever) say that Johanson, Nash, Kessel, or anyone ABOLUSTELY CAN’T be traded.Sure, anyone in theory can be traded. Everyone knows the cliche of “if gretzkky can be traded anyone can….” regardless of the circumstances of todays NHL being different. Of course no one predicted the Richards/Carter deals from Philly. But in all likelihood, Kessel won’t be traded. Nash will. Ryan Johanson will not. No one has ever even entertained the idea except for you. So that puts that to rest.

    Is Nashville a serious contender? Sure, as much as Vancouver, Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, NY, Pitt, Philly, Boston. My personal opinion is that Nashville is a team that others will adjust to over a 7 game series. They’re frustrating to play against, but even with their additions, most other contenders have more pure skill. If they have a good coach, which again most contenders do, they can make adjustments to Nashville’s somewhat predictable system over the course of a playoff series. Just my opinion. I’m not gonna say anyone is wrong to consider them serious contenders, but I personally don’t. To me, Detroit is still the team to beat IF Datsyuk and Lidstrom are fully healthy. If either one is not, they’re a very beatable team. They’re by far the two most important players to their team.

  23. Getting Nash would not solve any of the Leafs problems! Still no no.1 center, no veteran goaltender to mentor Reimer or / and Gus, still high paid underachievers under contract (Armstrong, Lombardi, Conolly, Komisarek) and a defense looking good only on paper.
    And I don’t think they will be able to trade for a true no.1 center! Who’s trading a no.1 center? Last trade I remember involving one was the Thornton trade. Crosby, Malkin, E. Staal, J. Staal, Getzlaf, Kesler, Henrik Sedin, Stamkos, Lecavalier, Spezza, Tavares, Datsyuk, Seguin, Toews….. where drafted and developed patiently by their teams.

  24. @ Juss76

    Agree with post ….Iam hoping that Leafs draft Radek Faksa or Colton Sissons in this draft …most likely the later as hes rated lower….14th ….where as Faksa is 4th but 6 foot 3 ……

    @ Diceman
    I was purely suggesting that if the Leafs could swing a deal which most likely wil be a multi player swap the CBJ might be willing to move him if the Leafs were to add some playuers to help CBJ at other positions …I dont know what the deal would be obviously it was purely a thought to discuss …as this would be a true good fit for the leafs and might help CBJ as well by giving them defense and a big center in the deal …thats all !!
    If I was Brian Burke Id ask Howson if it was possible and what he would require …….If i had a say id trade Kessel and Jake Gardner for ….Nash and Johanson ……TML deep on Defense and can replace with Holzer ….where as they will get that big center and develope him around very good young players and Nashs leadership ….its worth looking into !

  25. Wait…a player starts showing star quality and people scream trade…? For what, a unproven Nash who coasts in a b franchise with unlimited ice time and zero media/fan pressure? Well,sounds like a leaf trade but I will hand in my fan membership if it’s done..

  26. Lol leafs deep on defense. You have lots of mediocre defense. I had brought it up earlier about dion the pylons actually not great. Slow foot speed, hard shot that misses the net or is too easy to block, and lately on their fall from grace you laffs start to see it.

    I’m sick of leaf fans who are always making rediculous proposals, and don’t have the ability to talk about other teams or if they can they lack the ability to think and talk rationally. Thank god I live out west again and don’t have to be near you! It’s like you all have FAS.

    (Sarcasam on)
    OMG guys I have an idea! Let’s trade schenn, kadri, Kessel and our first for Malkin, Neal and Kunitz! It makes SENSE for both sides! Leafs get a proven awesome line, and Pittsburgh gets cap space and players that we think are amazing cause they were drafted or traded for by Burke our god who we follow like lemmings, but as soon as they’re gone we realize that they are intact GARBAGE!

    /Rant off

  27. Chris

    It will take Kessel and Gardiner to get Nash alone. Whether Nash is much better than Kessel I believe is debateable, but he is certainly viewed as a substantially more valuable player. In fairness, he is just as good offensively (although a different type of player) and is much better defensively (since Kessel has no value in the defensive end – ask the Bruins). And as far as Johansen is concerned, he’s far more untouchable in Columbus than any Leaf player or prospect. He will not be traded unless they are offered a huge premium – maybe a couple of first round picks and a second – oops – Burke’s been there, done that.