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LeafGm
01-28-2014, 09:50 AM
Happy anniversary Damien! It's been exactly one year since you published one of the most embarassingly idiotic articles I've seen written by a member of Toronto's sports media in the last 20 years. It's worth noting that this article was written on the eve of Phil Kessel's second straight season as a top-10 NHL scorer.

One year later, Phil Kessel currently sits 8th overall in NHL scoring, and is tired for 4th overall in goal scoring with Sidney Crosby. The Leafs, as they were for most of last season, are firmly in a playoff spot and are being led on the ice by none other than Phil Kessel, who is under contract to the team for the next eight years.

Here's the article, in all of its hilarious glory:



Maple Leafs must keep first pick, deal Phil Kessel: Cox (http://www.thestar.com/sports/leafs/2013/01/28/maple_leafs_must_keep_first_pick_deal_phil_kessel_ cox.html)

By: Damien Cox Sports Columnist, Published on Mon Jan 28 2013

There’s only one untouchable on the Maple Leafs.

The man with no name.

Not Clint Eastwood, or his empty chair.

The 2013 first-round draft choice.

It is to be protected, retained and cherished, although other teams covet it and have already started suggesting it should be included in proposed trades.

Sucker trades. Like Ernie Hicke to help you now.

That ’13 pick, among many reasons, is why there won’t be an offer sheet from the Leafs for P.K. Subban. The Canadiens just might be willing to forgo matching and take the compensatory picks, after all, for a shot at Nathan MacKinnon or Seth Jones.

Beyond that, the betting here is that new GM Dave Nonis won’t do what Floyd Smith did, or what Cliff Fletcher did, or what Pat Quinn did, or what John Ferguson Jr. did, or what Brian Burke did.

There will be no trading away the first-rounder in an attempt to make the present more palatable.

The Leafs seemed to have learned — finally — that blue-chip youngsters are not to be rushed. Similarly, surely they have learned through Tom Kurvers, the return of Wendel, Owen Nolan, Andrew Raycroft and Phil Kessel that the very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and forecasting a different result.

At least when Kessel was acquired it could be imagined that one day he would be an untouchable. But it hasn’t happened, and worse, in the early days of the shortened 2012-13 season it appears he may be poised to struggle through his most difficult season in a Leaf uniform yet.

Kessel appears ill-conditioned, isolated, troubled or simply massively unlucky, or some combination of those.

Whatever the case, it is becoming difficult to imagine a scenario in which Kessel remains a Leaf beyond the end of this season.

Part of that is, like Alex Anthopoulos with Vernon Wells, it becomes easier for the successor to exterminate the albatross than for he who attracted the burdensome seabird in the first place.

Unlike Burke, Nonis doesn’t have to defend the Kessel deal. No better way to cut ties with the past and move on than to move this player.

Some might suggest the same should apply to captain Dion Phaneuf, and there’s an argument to be made for that. The difference, however, is that Phaneuf was all but stolen in a trade with Calgary.

Kessel cost the Leafs a great deal, as much, perhaps, in prestige as in actual assets. Indeed, that deal may ultimately have cost Burke his job.

That’s not to blame Kessel for the state of the team, although as the star forward, he has to shoulder his fair share.

Personality-wise, this just hasn’t been a fit. Like Andrea Bargnani, he could be a nice secondary piece on a good team.

On a young, struggling team, however, he can’t be the front man.

Beyond that, if you’re the Leafs, you don’t want to be the team that has to figure out what to pay Kessel once his current deal ends at the conclusion of next season.

At a $5.4 million cap hit ($5.1 million in real money this season), he’s affordable given his stats and goal-scoring ability.

At $7 million, or $8 million, it will be much different. And that’s what he’ll be able to demand.

Moreover, the Leafs don’t want to lose him for nothing as an unrestricted free agent.

The ideal time to trade him would have been last summer, but Burke was still in charge and the lockout got in the way of everything.

Now, given the state of the team and the 25-year-old Kessel’s contractual status going forward, the April 3 trade deadline looms as the unofficial deadline to move this player, and there will be takers.

The kind of deal the Leafs should be looking for will be similar to that made by Columbus at last year’s deadline when Jeff Carter, then 27, was moved to the L.A. Kings for 25-year-old defenceman Jack Johnson and a first-round pick.

In 239 games with the Leafs, Kessel has potted 99 goals. Basically, that averages out to 33 goals per season, a number only 18 NHL players (2 per cent) hit last season and only 13 (1.4 per cent) did the season before that.

Kessel does well what very few NHLers do well. So, even with warts, he has great value, particularly to a team strong enough that he can play in a supporting role, as a secondary scoring threat.

Nonis, if he is to succeed, must put his stamp on this team in relatively short order, and must articulate a new direction fans can readily understand and embrace.

He has the patience and foresight to do that. Whether the new GM has the support of the new ownership, well, nobody knows.

But trading Kessel is the likeliest first step to the needed reset.

Wayward DP
01-28-2014, 09:53 AM
Heh.

Cox has definitely improved from the Quinn days, but every now and then he'll plop a stinker like this one. Really a shame the idiots we have to put up with in the media in this city.

MapleLeafBlueJayBoy
01-28-2014, 10:53 AM
I would remind him of this on Twitter if he hadn't banned me for commenting on this shameful article last year. Perhaps somebody else could. :smilewinkgrin:

Volcanologist
01-28-2014, 12:04 PM
Sadly there are still people who think this NOW, never mind a year ago...

Rumpleforeskin
01-28-2014, 12:10 PM
I just passed it along to him. What a dope

MindzEye
01-28-2014, 12:13 PM
I sent him a reminder of this with a link, I doubt he responds.

zeke
01-28-2014, 01:09 PM
Heh. Great thread.

MindzEye
01-28-2014, 01:16 PM
All quiet from Damo so far.

KingTucker
01-28-2014, 01:48 PM
Feschuck wrote about the same thing last June. Like Simmons and his idiocies, if cornered he'll just move the goalposts to appear correct. The only TO guy I tune into is Siegel, mostly for line combinations and news updates. MSM is about a year behind what's actually happening on the ice, brutal stuff.

number17
01-28-2014, 02:19 PM
It's hilarious.

I think Cox has come around on Kessel. And, other than Kessel, Cox has actually been reasonable with the Leafs.

Feschuck, OTOH ... I read for comical value.

JackBurton
01-28-2014, 05:46 PM
LOL he's like Andrea Bargnani? Jesus...

And Jeff Carter went MIA the second Columbus traded for him. He desperately wanted out.

None of his "Points" make any sense.

Pronger84
01-28-2014, 07:10 PM
Its typical of a lot of people in here to resort to insults when someone posts an opinion that is different from theirs. I thought Cox was right about some things such as the 1st rounder not being a trade option (this team struggles to bring in big name guys, which is why its imperative to develop through the draft), that Nonis doesn't have to defend any of Burke's prior moves as well as Kessel being out of shape. However he was way off on a few things as well such as Montreal even considering giving Toronto Subban, no way would they ever deal one of their best players to a key rival, I don't know where he got that from. He was also way off about Kessel leaving, the guy just signed a 8 year deal and confirmed he wanted to spend the rest of his career with the Leafs, also for Kessel's value those picks were not an overpayment, again I respect his opinion but I just don't agree with it.

Metalleaf
01-28-2014, 10:24 PM
Its typical of a lot of people in here to resort to insults when someone posts an opinion that is different from theirs. I thought Cox was right about some things such as the 1st rounder not being a trade option (this team struggles to bring in big name guys, which is why its imperative to develop through the draft), that Nonis doesn't have to defend any of Burke's prior moves as well as Kessel being out of shape. However he was way off on a few things as well such as Montreal even considering giving Toronto Subban, no way would they ever deal one of their best players to a key rival, I don't know where he got that from. He was also way off about Kessel leaving, the guy just signed a 8 year deal and confirmed he wanted to spend the rest of his career with the Leafs, also for Kessel's value those picks were not an overpayment, again I respect his opinion but I just don't agree with it.

No they don't...this past offseason, Clarkson was one of the biggest free agents and we signed him (should tell you the quality of the market, but I digress). More winning, more top UFAs (if they hit the market)

Pronger84
01-28-2014, 10:29 PM
No they don't...this past offseason, Clarkson was one of the biggest free agents and we signed him (should tell you the quality of the market, but I digress). More winning, more top UFAs (if they hit the market)

Clarkson isn't an elite or even above average player, this year like you said the market was weak and out of this years free agents he was one of the top guys (not because he's the most skilled but due to poor market value). The last big named player in their prime the Leafs have signed as a UFA would have been CUJO back in 98', and you could make a case for Kessel as well, albeit he was a RFA when we inked him to a 5 year deal... either way not many big named guys come here.

Metalleaf
01-28-2014, 10:30 PM
Mogilny

Pronger84
01-28-2014, 10:31 PM
Mogilny

Shit yea I forgot about him.

Metalleaf
01-28-2014, 10:33 PM
Roberts and Corson were UFAs too, but the reason we haven't signed "big" names is because we haven't been winning very much up until the last 2 seasons.

Pronger84
01-28-2014, 10:36 PM
Roberts and Corson were UFAs too, but the reason we haven't signed "big" names is because we haven't been winning very much up until the last 2 seasons.

True but they weren't in their primes though when they signed here. Nowadays most teams ink their core players to long term deals, very few of them make the FA and even fewer sign here which is why IMO the Leafs need to do a better job at not just drafting players but developing them. They have done a decent job drafting the backend, but since 2009 (Kadri) they have not drafted an impact forward, and yea I know they traded away their 2010 and 2011 1st rounders but still...

Metalleaf
01-28-2014, 10:39 PM
So why complain about the lack of big name UFA signings if the UFAs aren't their to be signed.

Pronger84
01-28-2014, 10:41 PM
So why complain about the lack of big name UFA signings if the UFAs aren't their to be signed.

I'm not complaining I'm just saying that the Leafs aren't going to get many big named guys (like a lot of other teams) which is why they should be relying heavily on drafting, again like alot of other teams.

MindzEye
01-28-2014, 11:21 PM
There haven't been many elite FA's to hit the market since the end of the 1st lockout.

I'd like to know exactly who we missed out on over that period of time.

axlsalinger
01-28-2014, 11:23 PM
MLSE makes money hand over foot, and they can't even spend a small percentage of that money on a time machine to go and get Stamkos? Greedy bastards.

Metalleaf
01-28-2014, 11:27 PM
There haven't been many elite FA's to hit the market since the end of the 1st lockout.

I'd like to know exactly who we missed out on over that period of time.

Wish there was an "easy" way to check that

MindzEye
01-28-2014, 11:36 PM
Wish there was an "easy" way to check that

I took a look through a few years of TSN's free agent tracker and it basically showed me what I expected to see. There was a lot of stealth purchases that would have made sense, but the elite guys were few, far between, and the recipients of huge contracts, many of which look silly right now.

Metalleaf
01-28-2014, 11:38 PM
One could argue that Kubina was one of the "top" UFAs in 2006, after Chara.

MindzEye
01-29-2014, 12:11 AM
Jason "Rat Fetus" Blake was coming off of a 40 goal year.

Metalleaf
01-29-2014, 12:13 AM
I'd prefer not to remember that era.

Pronger84
01-29-2014, 12:16 AM
Blake wasn't a bad signing, he put up 63 and 53 points... not bad at all. The problem was he had one 40 goal season and a lot of fans deluded themselves into believing he could get there again annually despite him being a regular 20-25 guy, when he didn't meet the high expectations a lot of fans turned on him.

LeafGm
01-29-2014, 07:21 AM
Just going from memory, I think Ilya Kovalchuk, Brad Richards, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise have been pretty much the cream of the UFA crop since the lockout in terms of "big names". But I don't think you'll find anyone that in retrospect thinks we missed the boat by not landing Kovy or Richards, and then Parise and Suter both signed with their hometown team.

leafman101
01-29-2014, 07:25 AM
Chara, Savard, Hossa (x2), Gaborik, Suter, Parise, Bouwmeester, Kovalchuck, Richards, Niedermayer.

JackBurton
01-29-2014, 08:51 AM
These guys are so happy the second it looks like "The Sky is falling" for the Leafs, they go overboard and embarrass themselves like Cox did with this article.

JackBurton
01-29-2014, 08:53 AM
Just going from memory, I think Ilya Kovalchuk, Brad Richards, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise have been pretty much the cream of the UFA crop since the lockout in terms of "big names". But I don't think you'll find anyone that in retrospect thinks we missed the boat by not landing Kovy or Richards, and then Parise and Suter both signed with their hometown team.

The only good signings as big name UFA's Boston did in 1 day. The Chara and Savard signings were brilliant. And they weren't even that long-term either. Minnesota's two (Parise and Suter) come with big risks in the second half of their deals.

JackBurton
01-29-2014, 09:36 AM
Speaking of Cox, here's his title from his latest article in the STar:

"Leafs capitalize on Stamkos’s absence in win over Lightning: Cox"

Thank god he happened to miss the one game the Leafs played against them. They would be so terrible without Stamkos!

LeafGm
01-29-2014, 09:59 AM
Chara, Savard, Hossa (x2), Gaborik, Suter, Parise, Bouwmeester, Kovalchuck, Richards, Niedermayer.
Yep, that would be the complete list. Out of those guys, we never had a real shot at Hossa, Suter, Parise or Niedermayer. Considering Chara signed with the Bruins about 30 seconds after free agency officially started, we probably didn't have any realistic shot at him either. Then we dodged a bullet by not signing Kovy or Richards.

The only one that's kind of a bummer is Bouwmeester, but he was pretty "under the radar" for a big name UFA signing.

leafman101
01-29-2014, 10:06 AM
Yep. JFJ turned down Savard though. And they never once put out a competitive offer for any of those guys. For better or worse.

Even if they weren't going to get them it would have been nice to at least throw huge money at guys like Nieds, Suter, Hossa, Chara, J-Bo and Kovy. Those are all top notch players, and Toronto should always be in on that.

Wayward DP
01-29-2014, 10:25 AM
Instead we get Clarkstrongisarek...

number17
01-30-2014, 09:38 AM
really, really wished we could go after J-Bo but we chose to pass on him - TWICE.