Hello hockey fans,
As we all know, we are inching closer and closer to one of the biggest days in the NHL; Draft day. I'm sure fans across the globe are intrigued with all the possibilities surrounding Phil Kessel. According to multiple sources it seems as though Minnesota, Pittsburgh, and Florida are the three front runners to land Phil the thrill. With the media putting all the attention on these three likely destinations, we seem to forget about the other 26 other teams in the NHL who could potentially put forward a significant offer. So let's get started!
1) Los Angeles Kings
Slava Voynov / Mike Richards (take your pick)
2015 1st round pick (13th overall)
To Los Angeles:
I probably sound ridiculous adding the Kings to the list of potential landing spots for Kessel, but as we all know, the defending Stanley cup champions failed to make a post-season appearance. Yes, The Jets barely squeaked in but my point is the Kings, who are supposedly a power house team failed to get it done. Now it shouldn't come as a surprise if GM Dean Lombardi and management try and shake things up. In return; Toronto will receive a young roster player in Tyler Toffoli, who is also a RFA and will be asking for a hefty pay increase. Slava Voynov / Mike Richards is a cap dump to relieve some of Kessels 8m per year salary. Adrian Kempe is a B level prospect in his second SHL season. As an 18-year-old, there is really no telling what Kempe's offensive upside can be, but according to multiple sources he has made quite the impression with Kings staff thus far.
2) Tampa Bay Lightning
2015 1st round pick (28th overall)
To Tampa Bay:
It's no secret head coach Jon Cooper and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin don't see eye to eye. Drouin was benched for most of the playoffs, and when inserted into the lineup he received minimal ice time and was practically invisible. Now don't get me wrong I'm not bashing Jonathan Drouin. I believe he has the knowledge and skill set to become an elite forward in the NHL someday. I just can't see it being with the Lightning. Mattias Ohlund is a aging veteran who can provide maturity and stability to a young Leafs blueline.
The reason I am undervaluing this trade proposal is because Drouin has magical stickhandling ability, tremendous speed, and strong hockey sense. He's able to slow the game down and make opponents look foolish. Drouin will be among the leagues top forwards in a few years and with experience and maturity he should continue to flourish.
3) Washington Capitals
2015 1st round pick (22nd overall)
Now this one shouldn't come as such a surprise because the Capitals have already made it clear they are in the market for a right winger to play alongside Ovy. Kessel and ovechkin on the same line is just scary, both players are elite goal scorers and a move to acquire Phil can push the caps into being a serious contender. Brooks Laich is not the player he used to be and his stats prove it. In this trade he is nothing more than a cap dump. Marcus Johansson is young solid roster player with impressive hockey sense. He's a very skilled skater who plays a big game for his size and has shown some leadership qualities. I believe Babcock can turn him into a real stud. Madison Bowey played an integral role for Canada during it's gold medal-winning run at the 2015 World Junior Championship. It's still too early to judge Boweys full potential. He's a big bodied right handed defenseman who doesn't shy away from the physical game. He's a fast two way skater and I believe if he keeps working hard he's in the making to be a top 4 defenseman in the NHL.
The reason the Washington Capitals made the list is because I can't see them committing to such a large contract. Kessel is worth every penny but if I had to guess I think the Caps will end up making a move for Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp. With 3 years remaining at a cap hit of $5.9mil per year I think this is the more reasonable option for the Washington Capitals.
Like I said before, these are unlikely destinations for Kessel, but it's always fun to stir the pot and talk hockey. If any of these trades were to go down I think Leaf nation would be more than happy with the return. Thanks for reading your comments are much appreciated.