NHL Morning Rumor Mill – January 28, 2013.

The latest on the Maple Leafs and the Flyers.

Leafs need a first line center for Phil Kessel.

Leafs need a first line center for Phil Kessel.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Buffery believes the Maple Leafs shouldn’t worry about finding an experienced goaltender and instead seek a first-line center for Phil Kessel’s line. Buffery doesn’t believe Tyler Bozak, the Leafs current first line center, can fill that role, while Mikhail Grabovski is a solid second-line center. He suggests moving Nazem Kadri to the first line and dropping Bozak to the third until such time as management can find a bona fide first line center via trade or free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Buffery noted, there was talk last summer of moving James van Riemsdyk from the wing to center, but he’s playing well at his current position. Maybe a first line center might be available later in the season, but that would prove costly in terms of assets to be given up. I know some Toronto fans and pundits dream of the Leafs acquiring Ryan Getzlaf from the Anaheim Ducks.If Getzlaf became available via trade, the Ducks won’t just give him away. The earliest they might get Getzlaf is via free agency this summer, and he would be a very expensive free agent signing, provided he could be convinced to come to Toronto. For now, the best the Leafs can do is line juggle, like maybe moving Kadri to Kessel’s line as Buffery suggests, and hope for the best until an opportunity to acquire an affordable upgrade becomes available.

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi noted the toll the rising number of injuries has had on the Flyers roster. Carchidi claims the loss of Andrej Meszaros for a month to a shoulder injury hasn’t prompted Flyers management to send an offer sheet to unsigned Montreal Canadiens blueliner P.K. Subban, but that could change if another key defenseman gets hurt. He also wondered if the Flyers scoring woes so far this season might prompt management to make a bold move, perhaps by targeting Anaheim Ducks forward Bobby Ryan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers were rumored to have contacted the Canadiens making inquiries about Subban’s trade status, but Carchidi reported late last week there was no truth to that speculation. The Habs, meanwhile, insist they’re not shopping Subban, so if the Flyers want him, an offer sheet may be their best route, but given their limited cap space even with Chris Pronger on LTIR, that doesn’t seem a likely one. Trading for a scoring forward seems possible, but the asking price for Ryan was reportedly Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn.

70 Comments

  1. OH BOY …here we go!! LOL the elbows are coming up today …it’s going to be like a playoff game with the posts here today …lmao!!

    BOZAK & KESSEL

    Buffery obviously has not been watching leaf hockey this year and hasn’t looked past what the issues really are …if you watched the Rangers game the other night and seen the size , skill and leadership they have on the top two lines you will see what the leafs are lacking …they have no size and no power upfront to control the cycle …they have no presence in front of the net to compete for rebounds and Kessel is afraid to get in the corners and has been figured out by the league like Ovechkin ..hes a one dimnsional player who shots off his back foot on the rush …AFTER THAT HE MY AS WELL NOT PLAY IN THE GAME!
    Bozak has actually played very well in the role he as been given and has imrpoved each year its just that hes not a # 1 center but rather a very good # 2 …The Leafs need size on the top 2 lines if they are going anywhere in the future ..its not going to happen for them until that happens …they need to move Kessel for size and skill upfront …he can not compete in this system and will not be effective enough with his style of play ….if you look at Richards Nash and Gaborik ..they mad Kessel look like a boy playing a mans game the other night …..Kessel would be a better addition and probably score 50 goals on a team such as the Blues , Kings or Wild …but he will be useless in the Carlyle system and the Leafs will be hampered by his lack of physical play and puck compete ( they or HE will not score goals ) ….they need to move him and restructure the whole first line , if this doesn’t happen ….you can get the clubs out or the poker cards ready and clean the cottage by mid Februrary ! I do not see Kessel or Bozak as a long term or short term benefit for the leafs at the # 1 line and producing to get to the playoffs! Kessel is an UFA after next year seasons end he should not be resigned by the leafs so move him now and push the restart button and get to work this year for next year !!

    SUBBAN –

    Habs need to trade him …after reviewing there cap structure for the next 2 years on cap geek it would be a benefit to the Habs to actually trade Subban and get multiple players back to help them rebuild and fit to the money structure they have and grow the team around Galchenyuk not Subban …it looks as if ther are to many players with NO TRADE CLAUSES that are hampering the Habs right now money wise and by signing Subban it will handcuff them for 2 years by not being able to add anything else !!
    they should really trade him for a 1 A player and 1 A prospect and move forward with a build.

    http://www.capgeek.com/canadiens/

    DUCKS

    They actually look very good this year ..nothing will happen in Duck land until the trade deadline to see where they are as they could compete for the cup this year with the club they have …..if they are out looking in then they may make a bold move …but not until then……in the off season Getzlaf will resign but Perry will be traded… IMO

    • With the Gomez buyout, and more likely Kaberle this summer, even after the cap goes down we would be looking at around 15 million cap space. So even if PK gets 5 million a year (which sounds doubtful) cap issues/money structure won’t be why we trade him at all.

      MB by the sounds of things wants a lower paying, 2 year bridge contract. This isn’t because of cap, it’s because he believes (as do I) that while PK has tons of potential, he still has lots to prove.

      • @Back checking
        I agree and disagree. The leafs need and IMO the only major need they have, is a big #1 center, a Jordan or Eric Staal, a Malkin or Crosby, a big power offensive center. After that I feel the rest falls into place. Bozak moves to second line, grabovski moves to #3 which I feel he fits greater minus the contract. The defense does need 1 more top guy but that could be Gardiner, Reilly, Holzer or Stuart. The goaltending is average or better IMO and if you make that move for the center I think it takes pressure off a lot of guys and makes them play better. Trading kessel is a side ways move I feel. You move him your going to have to add another prospect or pick to get that #1 center. Then once you get that center your searching for a scorer. Just like they searched for how many years when sundin was here.
        It’s subject won’t go away until they either trade kessel or he signs an extension but I just don’t see the benefit long term to trading him. They have good building blocks in place. Lupul, jvr, Kadri, Gardiner, Reilly, frattin, kulimen, all these guys would move one step down the chart if they added that center and doing so allowing them to do less and not trying to do more

    • Aren’t you the one that thought he Leafs needed to get a vet with all those intangibles like that Arnot had and that the leafs should get him, never mind that he couldn’t even pass a physical?

      Your note on Kessel is a typical blinded Kessel hating rant. Yes he does seem like a boy amongst men like that $20 million dollar line and that is because he is quite younger and inexperienced than them…that’s the deal with young players, you have to be patient and wait for them to develop… But I’m sure you know that.

      As for Buffery, more proof guys that watch and write about hockey really don’t know hockey…kadri is p,Ali g very sheltered mins meaning he plays against lesser quality opponents for a short time while Grabo’s and Bozak’s line play again top pairings and other teams tougher comp depending home or away games as to how plays against top defenders/lines, so putting Kadri would be wrong, very wrong.

  2. Kadri won’t solve the Leafs first line issues. Yes, Bozak should not be on the first line but neither should Kessel. Kessel is to small, to dainty and refuses to drive the net and for some reason Bozak thinks he has been blessed with Kessels goal scoring talant so he plays the same way. Kadri between JVR and Lupul would have been interesting but we all know that can’t happen.

    Kessel needs to go to a team that can use him on the right line in the right position sandwiched between the right players. The Leafs are not that team and won’t be for many years. Kessel is a pure goal scorer, we all agree, but he is useless on the Leafs in his current role, playing on his current line, with his current linemates. Trade him…

  3. Sundin was without a winger to play with for years, now Kessel doesn’t have a centre to play with. The fish rots from the head down in this organization. It will be Leafs 50th anniversary in 4 more years without a Stanley Cup. Really, really sad, for a numbered 1 “valued” organization. The poor fans and a hopeless organization. Nothing is going to change.

  4. While I am a fan of Kadri I do not believe that he has what it takes to centre the Leafs first line. The main reason I say this, and it has nothing to do with his level of compete, is his size or actually lack of it. With Kessel being a periphery player and unwilling to engage in puck battles the Leafs need a big man to get him the puck and I don’t think Kadri is that man.
    Big, strong centres are hard to come by and if one does become available the team that has him would want a lot in return, which pretty much negates trading for one.
    The Leafs, at least to this point, are finally getting the scoring from the second line that they have been looking for but the first line goes dry. It’s obvious Kessel needs someone to get him the puck and the teams lack of size up the middle is becoming evident as they really don’t have a big man to centre the first line.
    Trading Kessel, while for some an option, presents another big problem. Who comes back to the Leafs who can put 30 or more goals a year on the scoreboard?

  5. Trade Kessel and the Leafs have no first line whatsoever. Bozak and Kadri are fine in that role for the time being. What you actually suggest is trading Kessel in favour of bumping Grabovski, Van Riemsdyk and MacArthur or Kulemin to the first line and getting a second line.

    If that was the case, then you’d be moving Kessel for some good prospects. Jersey would make a good trade partner as they could use a first line winger and have second liner prospect/potentials aplenty as they’re also loaded on defense, especially stay at home types that play a disciplined game.

    Anaheim wouldn’t… both Perry and Getzlaf are on final years until they reach UFA status. Nonis wouldn’t be dumb enough to make that gamble.

    But okay, if you Leafs fans are so desperate to trade Kessel, let’s hear some of the propositions! Name a team, name the deal. I built a stats database of all players on all teams; I can pretty much tell you what he’s worth and I’m sure others would agree with me.

    • @MJR
      The Leafs have no top line now so trading Kessel will make no difference. You never know what the Leafs can get back.

      Case in point Schenn for JVR was a steal for the Leafs IMHO

      • Kessel will still put up points as a top line player. They have 1/3 or 2/3 of a first line if Kadri steps up. Trading Kessel leaves them with 0/3.

    • If a trade could be made the one that I see as benefitting both squads would be Kessel to Buffalo for Jason Pominville. Buffalo would get a high scoring winger who would benefit from their bigger, tougher attitude and Toronto would get a high s oring winger who is not afraid to battle for pucks, go to the net or backcheck.
      The downside is that Toronto would be getting an older player but then again if a player is doing his job and doing it well, does his age really matter?
      How does your database rank that trade?

      • Doubt Buffalo and Toronto would make a trade seeing they play each other so much and are fighting for the same playoff spot.

        • I also doubt that the Pominville/Kessel trade could ever be made, which is why I prefaced it by saying “if a trade could be made.” While not a Toronto fan what I was doing was addressing MJR I’s request for propositions and seeing how his database compared the two.

          • Actually they’re comparable.

            I have Kessel’s offense at 84 rating and his defense at 56, and Pominville at 80 offense (around the 20s) and 58 defense (377th rank). Both played on teams that were letting in more goals than they should have been, so a change of atmosphere could benefit the two.

            If it’s a chemistry thing, Pominville could be a better fit.

  6. PS, I have Kessel ranked 10th in the league in offense, and 413th in 2-way play.

    • He’s a stud in fantasy hockey. That’s all that really matters.

  7. @ MJRI

    Quick question with Kessel in the line up since he has come to the leafs how many times have we got to the playoffs …how many goals does he have this year …how does his top line compare to the top lines of other teams this year ( did you watch him get erased against the Rangers ) …..did you watch the Blues and Wild game last night ….those are teams with a # 1 line ….

    Kessel is a GREAT goal scorer no one here is debating that ……he is not a #1 line winger on the Leafs with this teams players YES on another team San Jose , Wild , Blues , Chicago , La Kings ….

    Just by adding a # 1 center is not going to make Kessel in all the areas he stinks in and that’s 90% of the rest of the NHL style game …hes a great second liner but the leafs need a power forward first line to compete with the rest of the League ….hes a fringe player ….he plays away from the play and only succeedes on breakaways and in the open slot not in the 80% of the areas that the game is played he will not benefit from a Carlyle system and will be exposed to his real game at this level !
    Dont read your stats ……..watch the games and watch how he plays comared to the other teams first line and then tell me what you think!!!

    Last question to you MJRI …..if you dont trade Kessel this season are you signing him to a $6- $7 million contract next year….. for 5 more years ….thats whats this is all about !!!!

    • @ Backchecking
      Here here buddy very well written.

      One stat you also won’t see show up is how many times is Kessel on the ice for a goal scored against the Leafs as opposed to for the Leafs when the game is close or when the game is about to get blown open or when the Leafs are playing a division rival or when the Leafs are playing a big bodied tough team or when the Leafs are being forced into playing a tough hard hitting game (as they would if they ever made the playoffs). You can only see how Kessel is during those times by watching him play and we have all seen what happens during those times. The guy could score 100 goals but if he is the cause for 110 goals against then who cares that he scored 100.

    • Before you comment again, why don’t you look at the top players and see who their line mates are and compare that to who Kessel plays with. If you still think he isn’t great you need to follow another team or sport.

    • I was busy watching the Devils getting schooled by Montreal.

      Blues have probably the 2nd best first line in the league (I think Boston’s Seguin-Bergeron-Marchand are the best with Sharp-Hossa-Toews 3rd, supposing they play together, they play 1st line minutes anyway). Kessel’s line last year was however among the top scorers with Lupul and missing that “centerpiece”. If those guys play with say… someone like Henrique who has a good 2 way game, it would greatly improve them just like it improved Parise and Kovalchuk last year when NJ was missing Zajac with the achilles injury. They don’t need a great number one center, they need a great two way player so that they can use their speed. With Lupul out six weeks, the time to strike would be now.

      If this is a contract year and he plays like crap, they can get him at a bargain! :D

      Suggest a deal and let me compare the players, don’t just say “trade him”… because if you’re desperate to unload a guy, you won’t get what you’re looking for. Assume that a 1st liner = 2 2nd liners or 2nd liner/prospect, and a 2nd liner = 2 3rd liners or 3rd liner/prospect. So if you’re trading Kessel, which 2 second liners or equivalent 1st liner you going to get for him?

      • Exactly. Everyone saying trade kessel for the center to rebuild around. Who are you trading him for? Staal? Landeskog? Seguin? Your not getting any of them for kessel. You’d be getting a prospect and a 1st does that put you further ahead? No. Both of those are un proven and would take years to develop which would make the rest of your core useless. I posted this yesterday and didn’t really get an answer so ill repost. Is o’reilly an upgrade over grabovski and would he fit better centering kessel then bozak? He’s more physical which fits Carlyle and from what I’ve read he is a better two way which is what that line would need. I’d be up for trading grabovski for him. Even with o’reilly wanting 4 mill it’s a better contract then grabos

  8. @ HABS _ FTW

    You will have to resign 9 plus players including Subban with $11 million if you don’t buy out Kaberle even at $15 million thats a crunch to sign Subban with what the team look like all around …that means you cant sign a quality free agent and ice a team different than this one next year or the following !!

  9. Kessel’s not going anywhere, he’s a young sniper. Sure he doesn’t battle for the puck but that’s not what he’s known for.
    Toronto has no centres that battle in the corners well. (Except for Zigomanis in the minors, but apparently that and faceoffs is all he’s good at.)
    What Kessel needs is a big play making centre to dig and battle and can feed him pucks all night long. Kadri can’t do any of that as his style is very similar to Kessels (finesse and shots) so moving him up to the top line won’t help.
    Line juggle all you like, there’s no getting around the fact that Kessel cannot be 100% effective with any of the centres on the Leafs, this includes Bozak.
    Tank this shortened season that nobody really cares about, get a good draft pick, and see what your Free Agent options are in the off-season.

  10. @ Konstantine ….

    So in other words don’t dump the puck in on Kessels corner on the rush against the other teams top checking line and ask him to wait at the top of the circle for the puck as he aint going to the net either …give me a break !!!
    Look at successful teams and there style of play …look at Parise smaller than Kessel and 20 pounds lighter …..he is a difference maker …Kessel will never be that …..and not for $6 million on my team !!

    • Comparing Parise and Kessel is like comparing apples to oranges, they have different styles of play.and to think that Parise is a difference maker is exaggerating in my books Overpaid and underachieving, Parise had 69 pts last year, Kessel was 6th in the league (82 points) in scoring. I’d rather have the latter.

  11. @ MJRI

    Iam going to get roasted for this but i would try two trade scenarios for Kessel .

    1) Kessel and Jake Gardiner & 2nd rounder …..for Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian
    Kane is not well liked on his team by the players and Bogosian is on the last year of his deal !!
    You have a lot of Leaf fans in Winnipeg that would like to see this and it would be great marketing by the Jest!!

    2) Kessel & Gunnarson or ( Blacker) for…….Colin Wilson and Ryan Ellis and a second rounder

    Just a scenario !!!

    • All right, now I got work to do. Just a second.

      1) Kane is a more rounded player than Kessel (his OR is 82 to Kessel’s 84, but his DR is 72 to Kessel’s 56), Bogosian and Gardiner are actually very comparable, however, Bogosian is injured, so that deal isn’t going to happen until he returns, which might be soon. I don’t know if I do the deal if I’m Winnipeg, despite the 2nd liner. Evander Kane also just signed a pretty big deal in Winnipeg and I doubt they’re interested in moving him even despite rumours of him not getting along with his teammates. They’ll get along much better if Winnipeg starts to win.

      2) Actually that’s not bad, but I would take it if I were Nashville and reject it if I were Nonis. Ellis is still unproven and Wilson is good enough to play second line, but I’m not sure you’re going to get out of Ellis what you might be giving away with Kessel. If Kessel developed a two way game, he’d have higher potential than Ellis as a defender.

      • What are these ratings you speak of? What metric are you using to get these ratings or are you just basing it on a game in which case save your breath.

        • By game I’m talking about NHL13 or something dumb like that.

  12. the lack of top players is why Burke is gone, he refused to listen to anyone and passed up a chance to give up only Kaberle and Kadri for Kessel instead giving up Seguin and Hamilton (who will end up being core players for Boston long after Kessel is gone). maybe the defence will be on track once Rielly and Gardiner are able to make solid contributions but the Leafs would be set at defence for the next decade had they held onto their pick and grabbed Hamilton. Nonis has been shown to have a little more patience but once again he’s left to clean up the mess Burke left behind, without a top goalie or depth at forward it’s going to be a painfully long year for Toronto fans.

    • You can’t say that he would have gotten Seguin, Hamilton, and whoever turned out to be the 2nd rounder. If he didn’t deal for Kessel, maybe they’d have played themselves better than 29th.

      I agree that it was a bad deal, but it would have been a pretty good gamble if the gamble paid off.

  13. Patrick Kane cap hit 6.3
    Jeff skinner 5.75
    Semin 7
    You can go through and add others to this list but this is the ones I thought of. Look at those players and see what they’ve done. All have played with other top guys and I don’t see 4 seasons of 30+ goals. I don’t see them going to the corners and banging and crashing. These guys are young fast, skilled players, who have guys that can do that for the plus feed the puck.
    My point is yes I would love to get the big center and kessel isn’t a guy that can over power a team but he isn’t as useless a player and the leafs aren’t going to be further ahead by trading him.

    • My defense of Kessel is that if he developed his puck possession game, he wouldn’t have to be a crash player. Datsyuk doesn’t lay guys out, he just steals and has a great puck possession game. Kessel still has time to develop that being still pretty young. Given that Kessel still got 40 some assists, it means he’s just as good at passing as he is at shooting.

      Under Carlyle, I’d like to see what happens. I know Kessel has no goals yet, but he’s had shots. I just don’t like it when they stifle his speed because Burke wanted to build a speedy first line and they should use them that way.

      If I was Toronto, I’d be more concerned with Dion Phaneuf’s -8 stat. That stared at me like the sun when I was looking at their stats.

  14. I wouldn’t sign subban to a offer sheet because you would lose first rounders and he may not be worth the cost.trade is the best option.

  15. I am no Leafs or Kessel fan, but he is definitely a top-line player, in my opinion. He has huge failings, but as Jrd18 indicates, Semin – who has the same failings, and worse stats – would still be a top-liner in one of his good years. Kessel, too.

    Is he a complete player? Definitely not. Does he need other talented players on his line to help hide his weaknesses? Yes, but most players do. Nobody is saying Kessel is as good as Zetterberg.

    Is he a 30+ goal scorer who can create chances for himself and, if he had good linematers, others? I think he’s that guy. A decent first-line player, just not the saviour he’s supposed to be.

  16. Also, anyone think the Habs could package Kaberle & a mid-level prospect for a low draft pick? Kabs scored slightly over .5 ppg last year after joining Montreal. Hardly amazing, but not that bad, either.

    A team who has a 1-2 yr window for the Cup, but also has cap space, might need him? Wings? They seem to make any player they trade for reach their potential…

    I’m probably dreaming, I realize…

    • Aka, let the flaming begin. lol

    • Kaberle used to be a PP quarterback and he’s not really doing it anymore. I don’t know if there’s a market for him even though he does have a passing game. Montreal might be “stuck” with his contract. Not many people want to take a chance at a 2nd pairing d-man for 9m over 2 years.

      • Yeah, I figured the same. I had wondered if people might bite if a mid-level prospect was there to sweeten the pot. Agreed, though; probably not. Bah, humbug! lol

  17. @Captain Ahab – you said “Who comes back to the Leafs who can put 30 or more goals a year on the scoreboard?” I would rather have 2 20 goal scorers than 1 30 goal scorer. Not to mention, if these players are strong, they can keep the puck cycling in the other teams zone. Don’t forget, time spent in the other teams zone is not time we spend defending. Kessel never maintains the zone, he breaks the line, makes his offensive play and if it doesn’t go in the net the Leafs are skating back immediately. Sorry but Phaneuf and Kessel have been here for 3 years and neither can takes us to the next level. They will not get any better, they are what they are now. They are not core players, they are players that finish off a very good team.

    • So who are these two 20 goal scorers that you are talking about? Also, who do the Leafs have to give up to get these players?
      Also, you say that “Phaneuf and Kessel have been here for 3 years and neither can take us to the next level.” I totally agree but with all due respect if by “us” you mean me as a Leaf fan please don’t count me as a member of the Leaf faithful. While I am a fan of the game I have never been a fan of Toronto hockey teams.
      If there was a way to jettison Phaneuf and his monster contract as well as trade Kessel I believe Toronto would be a better team for it, obviously depending on who they got back in return, but with over $11 million to spend with both of them gone I believe you could get a damn good defenseman as well as a top forward for that kind of money.

    • Agree whole heartedly

  18. Konstantine wrote: “What Kessel needs is a big play making centre to dig and battle and can feed him pucks all night long. Kadri can’t do any of that as his style is very similar to Kessels (finesse and shots) so moving him up to the top line won’t help. Line juggle all you like, there’s no getting around the fact that Kessel cannot be 100% effective with any of the centres on the Leafs, this includes Bozak.”

    This is exactly the reason why IMO you don’t build a team around a winger. They ALWAYS need a top centre and good puck-moving defense to help them generate offense, whereas centres and defense drive the offense (for example, look at Ovechkin when Backstrom & Green are injured or dogging it). I would trade Kessel in a heart beat for a potential #1 centre. Problem is I can’t really think of one that is available:

    - Getzlaf might be available soon but is going to be UFA and his production has been decreasing yearly.
    - Krejci might be available, but probably not a no. 1.
    - Weiss might be available but is going to UFA and probably isn’t a no. 1.
    - Maybe the Leafs could pry Schenn or Couturier from Philly?

    The Leafs either have to figure out how compete without a bonafide no. 1 centre, draft one, or trade for one that they can develop.

    • At last,someone gets it.
      All this talk of the big no.1 centre when there are none to be had.
      There is not a single team out there that is not looking for this player.

      there are some no.2 guys that might be had that would help the leafs but only if he was for helping kessel,whicj means if you are dealing kessel to get him he has nobody worth playing with so it is a waste.

      I agree you either draft one and develop him or get a free agent.

      for those that are pro trade kessel there are very few teams that would make a deal because only real contenders that also have good cap space would be interested.
      that narrows it down a ton and makes the return nothing like what it should be.

      you might be looking at a present player with possible 2nd line upside,a prospect and a #1 pick that will be in the 20-30 area.
      if he does not want to resign then you have no choice but if he wants to stay i keep him.

      the player they could get the same and be worth it right now and is in the same boat is phaneuf.
      he is up after next year and would be a great add to many defense depleted teams that do not need him to be the man and play 30 minutes and be the first or 2nd PP guy.
      they could handle the 1 yr left at 6.5.

      there just are not any teams out there that are deep enough to put together packages that are worth big deals.
      every team is going into hold the youth cheap and see what happens.

      there are a lot of teams with one big line and not a lot after that and a decent defense and a good goalie.
      if any of those teams lose a top line guy like leafs did with lupul they have pretty iffy fill ins too.

      the talent pool is thinning pretty fast and then when you add in salary considerations is gets even thinner.
      we can talk all day about trading this guy or that guy but nowadays trading is not what it used to be.

      • Looking at the list of centers out there, Sam Gagner, Ryan O’Reilly are good centers with first line potential, while the Caps are sitting on three who are capable of playing first line now or in the future (Ribeiro, Perreault, Backstrom).

        But otherwise, yeah, yas are stuck developing one unless you can somehow con the Islanders to part with Ryan Strome. They could have probably snagged up Grigorenko instead of Morgan Rielly (even traded down to wait for him).

        Maybe they hope they’ll sign Getzlaf.

      • @top right

        Call Philly and see if they want to trade Brayden or Couturier for Dion the Pee-on. Philly is in desperate need for a Pronger replacement. Hopefully Nonis can bamboozel them again.

        • no way they could get either of those guys but it would be nice if they could.

  19. I have no idea what it would take to pry him out of St. Louis but a big, strong as well as young and affordable centre is Patrik Berglund. If resigning and keeping Kessel is in the Leafs game plan then somehow getting a centre like Berglund would be the optimum way to increase both Kessel’s as well as the Leafs first line production. European players, like Berglund, have a skill set that sees them looking to pass first and then if the pass is not available then take a shot. This type of playmaker would be able to get Kessel the puck enough for him to look at scoring 40 to 50 goals a year, which I believe he is capable of.
    St. Louis has really put together a talented line up while maintaining lots of cap space. I give John Davidson all the credit for building the Blues and he has shown what someone can do with a limited budget and good hockey sense.

    • As long as St. Louis is winning, that team is sealed up airtight. And I have them slated to win the President’s trophy this year as soon as Chicago’s goaltender returns to normal.

      • Yep, the Blues are unbelievably young, talented & deep. Scary. I think they need one more grizzled veteran to play on the 3rd line and to show the kids, “You need to do even morein the playoffs – like take a puck in the teeth” and they’ll be the team to win the Cup.

        • Iginla?

  20. The Leafs dont need a 1st line center. Kessel puts up great numbers without one, and Bozak is a decent 1B center. The Leafs need goaltending and defence. A center is a luxury, but not a necessity.

    • I respectfully disagree, Toronto has quite a bit of young defenders that will grow into their roles nicely. Gardiner, Holzer, Fraser, Kostka etc

      The goalie situation can go either way, they still need time to mature, a goalie’s prime believe it or not is near 30 yrs old when they have learned the best positional placement and staying calm.

      The forwards right now need help but not in the future (Colborne, D’Amigo and others look good) so although Bozak is doing his best I don’t believe he’s more than a 2nd liner anywhere else in the NHL

  21. leafs will need to over pay this summer to get ufa s to come play with this team.
    i thought carlyle over played phanuef and costca (22 min after two periods)and they had nothing left for the third when rangers turned it on.
    leafs are not a playoff team . and if they can get the right return then trade kessel and phaneuf and rebuild with ufas and the return from trades and draft picks . they will be a contender sooner that way .
    how about kessel to the capitals for filip forsberg ++
    alot of teams looking for a dman so see what you can get for dion now . he would look good in detroit on the second pairing and leafs could get a couple good prospects for him. detroit might not like his salary but have room to take it on.
    leafs should not look at this season as playoffs or bust because they aren’t going to make it .trading kessel and phaneuf would make even more cap space and make it more likely that they finish at the bottom to get a top two draft pick (they might still finish ahead of the habs if markov gets hurt again ,hope that isnt the case though ).
    then they could make a run at getz and perry IF they make it to ufa and give them both the max . that would be the only way you could get them here by giving them max pay and playing together and there would be still enough cap to sign a goalie and a stay at home dman (leafs need two of those)
    sometimes i hate being a leaf fan
    we have to come up with fantasy trades cuz management doesnt know how to build a winner

    • I don’t believe that there is one team out of the other 29 who would take Phaneuf and his enormous salary. Even Detroit with the cap space would not want him. Yes, he eats up minutes but many times at the cost of giving up too many scoring chances. Carlyle insists on playing him on the power play in the hopes that his shot somehow finds the net but the jury is still out on that experiment. Any team that would be willing to take on over $6 million in salary would be looking for an impact player, which Phaneuf is not, or someone to help them reach the salary cap floor.
      I am afraid that the six million dollar man is a Leaf until he becomes a UFA.

  22. Hey it’s a short season which means it’s a good year to just suck it up and try and get a top position in the draft which is going to be a very good draft year. Short season means short pain for the Leafs management. Luongo would only move you in the wrong direction come the draft. McKinnon, or Drouin or a stud D like Jones would be a nice start to the 13/14 season

  23. Kessel has a Limited no trade clause next year on the last year of his deal which limits you on a return even more so than what is available now and you still may not get a decent center to play with him!!!

    Is he the first line winger you want moving forward????

    Will you resign him for more than $6.5 million for 5 years ……if he wants to resign????

    YES OR NO ?????

    If not you have to cut ties this year and the best you can so its not a problem next year when you can have a solid line up moving forward and those new guys in the line up instead of more bull crap in another season !!

    • If the return for kessel is a couple of ‘if’ players and a late pick and he wants to stay i give him the 6.5.
      If they are lucky and get mackinnon or another quailty young centre or have signed a ufa quality centre i give him the 6.5 without blinking.

      Ahab,i very much disagree,i say right now detroit/Philly/capitals to name 3 would take Dion in a second if the return in players was okay with them and salary would mean nothing.
      dion is way overplayed in toronto and with a normal 20 minutes and better around him would be very effective for another club.
      he actually reminds me of murphy and how the leafs abused him and the fans got down on him and he went on to be an excellent and effective player for detroit and a cup victory.

      one thing i agree with is why players want no part of playing here.
      as a toronto native if i was a player i would not come here either,not with this press or these fans.
      i hope kessel does get traded and then piles up great numbers elsewhere and is happy.
      as with tons of players past he is underappreciated here and too much is expected of him to do on his own.
      toronto is a good place for vet players but a graveyard for youngsters.
      kadri was loved,then hated and called a useless bum,now loved again for the moment.
      just wait until he has 4 or 5 games without doing something,he will be back to being a bum and fans will be calling for his head.

  24. @MJR

    I just read Spectors Hockey News article on the Leafs needing to upgrade D if they can’t upgrade in net.

    Spector should know better as according to (certain)Leaf fans on this site that have posted many, many times that their D is uber deep and they have about 8000 prospects in the system ready to play at the NHL level yesterday and JamesBen is way better in net than, let’s say, Luongo.

    So, taking into consideration Spector knows nothing about hockey(let alone what the Leafs need according to these certain fans), this is my proposed trade scenario based on those suggestions that for sure would take the Leafs to the cup. Tell me if the numbers in your system back this up:

    Kessel and spare parts
    for
    Malkin
    *Malkin can carry the first line all by himself so no other trade is needed BUT lets take another suggestion to give him a hand or even be the second line all by himself:

    Gunnerson straight up
    for
    Getzlaf
    *Gunnerson the the Bestest, most steady presence on the blueline in the league so Anaheim would DEFINITELY do this deal

    and

    LEAVE THE JAMESBEN ALONE! A goaltender like Luongo couldn’t hold a candle to these guys. Bernier, maybe, but not Lou.

    Let me know how this turns out. I’m sure your stats will back me up…;)

    • This a joke?

    • Okay… if it’s not.

      Malkin’s not going anywhere. You could offer Pittsburgh your two first lines for Malkin, they wouldn’t do it. Two hart trophies and a conn smythe.

      Getzlaf is a UFA in the summer. People who trade for impending UFAs usually offer a 1st, prospects, and roster players. And that’s not happening until April 3rd (deadline), which might be too late for the Leafs by then.

      • It’s not a joke that I wanted your stats comparison in order to show what a joke my post was to Leaf fans posting suggestions like these.

  25. @ Top Rigt Corner

    You should never do a deal just to move guys out of town …( most times)
    Thats not what were talking about …were talking about 5 years now with Kessel and it may be time to get the best upgrade you can and make a smart trade quality player for quality player but just a player that plays different and to the strengths of where the team is going…there is always a time to move on it may be that time …I really don’t see Kessel being resigned here and I think you can get a handsome return that will be more beneficial long term !

    Iam not even touching the Dion comment ……I just want him off the power play so we can score goals !!

    • BC,

      no team is going to give a quality player,they want to add kessel to be the difference maker and losing a quality player in the trade would not do that.

      a team needing kessel would offer up young unestablshed guys/prospects/picks.
      considering the leafs are using a ton of ex 1st rd picks right now i am not all that into giving a proven commodity for what ifs.
      and usually outside the top 10 in the draft does not mean you are getting for sure player let alone a 1st or 2nd line player.

      as a matter of fact the 2 biggest names posters are trying to trade on here are kessel and phanuef who were both high ranked picks.

      whether you deal them or not either way it is a slippery slope and the players arriving will be well regarded and probably crapped on in 2-3 years and be the new kessel/phanuef in talks of what can be had for these bums in a trade.

      remember you already had gardiner and kadri shipped out last week as well.
      by this time next year you will probably be proposing trades for rielly and lupul and grabbo.

      • @Top

        I tend to diagree case in point – Schenn for JVR

        There are teams with an over abundance of good players at a certain position willing to part with one of their players to get a good player for another position. There are also teams that have good players that aren’t performing up to potential or aren’t gelling with other players on the team that may want to make a change. There are also teams with UFA players that need to be moved before the deadline. There are all kinds of scenarios where a good center could come back for Kessel possibly even a 3 team deal. I just don’t want to give up hope.

        • so a proven 35 goal 80 point player for a ufa or underacheiver?
          pass and pass.
          you are a true anti-kessel guy,trade him for not just a bag of pucks but a bag of NEW pucks will do.

          • I’m not anti Kessel I just don’t think he is right for the Leafs given the current lineup. Everyone wants this big tough super star number one center but aren’t willing to give up anything to get one. Let’s face it trying to draft one will mean waiting for years before he is ready to take on other number one centermen and relying on the UFA market means trying to land Getzlaf which could be unlikely. If you can retain Kessel and land a number one center super star I’m all for it but I highly doubt that is going to happen without giving up a boat load ie Kessel

  26. I think its safe to say …we have exhausted the Kessel situation !!!!

    If Nonis had a deal to make to upgrade the team …it would have happened …so that means there isn’t one, for any player as of yet!!

    • Hopefully the catharsis works… if I see people talking about Kessel in tomorrow’s rumours and Toronto’s not even on the page… *shakes a fist*

  27. From Philly’s perspective we like the L Schenn for JVR trade just fine. At least a couple of extra million bucks a year off the cap works in our favor. JVR’s line so far as a minus 2 player is 3 goals and 1 assist. Schenn’s line so far is 1 G and 1 Assist as a plus 2 player. Schenn also plays 5 more minutes a game.

    Nothing but positive so far for the Flyers. Big, young, hard hitting, tough defensmen we can always use here in Philly. 5 million a year for 20 goal scorers, we can make due without just fine.