Lebrun: Flames & Leafs Talking Phil Kessel

It’s July 1 and we’re going to hear a lot of wacky rumours today, but TSN (and ESPN) analyst Pierre Lebrun kicked the day off with a big one: the Calgary Flames have reportedly had talks with Toronto about Phil Kessel.

Not to be overly negative, but I don’t see it. Outside of being a right-handed shot, Kessel doesn’t seem like a bit. He’s an elite goal-scorer and brings offense, but his contract is awful and stops Calgary from being able to do things that they want to do financially, particularly with Giordano, Monahan and Gaudreau needing to re-up soon.

He’s 27, which fits Calgary’s age group. He’s a consistent 20-30 goal scorer, on a bad Toronto team. But he’s got an $8 million cap hit that doesn’t run out until after the 2021-22 season. That length is a bit terrifying, to be blunt. That means a 33-year-old Kessel costs $8 million of cap space. If the contract was a wee bit shorter, maybe the Flames take a swing. And honestly, if the cap hit is a wee bit smaller, I’d say they definitely take a swing at it.

The other question is whether Kessel would be a fit on Bob Hartley’s systems-centric club. My guess is that after years in Toronto with the team running in place, he might actually enjoy a change of pace.

Between having to give up significant assets to acquire him and needing to fit him under the cap until 2022, I don’t see this happening. But it’s July 1, so never say never.

  • I’d be interested in Kessel, but the conditions would have to be just right. You know the Leafs are going to ask about Giordano, Brodie, Monahan and Backlund (at least) in a trade. Not sure I’d risk any of them.

  • everton fc

    Could it be Gio for Kessel, straight-up? Wouldn’t help the Leafs cap situation too much.

    I’ve also read the Leafs are willing to take-on $2mill of the annual salary. We already know Treliving’s a shrewd businessman. Takes after his dad, I suppose! Backlund may come into play, but I think the Flames would make a mistake moving him. Perhaps youngsters like Granlund/Arnold/et al and picks come into play?? Perhaps the Leafs help us by taking some of our salary dead-wood (Smid? Engellanf?? Bollig??? Raymonf????)

    I’ve always thought Burke would kick these tires. Kessel’s young, he’s a good skater, and may blossom here, where he’s not “the guy”, where he can simply pop in his 25-30 goals a season, learn a little more of the two-way game, hang out in the mountains… Be left alone a bit….

    Kessel will produce the same production when he’s 33. Just like St. Louis will at 43. He’s just one of those players. I say bring him on board and make a run for the Cup. Again, at 27, his age “fits” a rebuild.

    If they do bring Kessel here, it doesn’t bode well for Gio. Or Wideman. Or Hiller.

    • Not a chance. With the DH contract coming in under 6.0 mill, I see Gio giving us a discount because he sees this team quickly changing gears back to being relevant. I predict a Gio deal being announced for 6 years at $39mill. Now for Kessell, Toronto is obviously finding out from everyone else that if they want any kind of assets back for Kessell, they will have to eat at least 2.0 mill of his salary. So Kessell at 6.0 mill I could live with. So what do you give back. Leafs are full rebuild, they want prospects & picks.
      Give them our 2016 1st, give them Granlund & give them Wotherspoon.
      That’s it. Backlund & all this Bennett wishful friggin thinking from Leaf fans should be a resounding non starter.

  • RKD

    Kessel is lazy, refuses to backcheck. He’s not a fit in the dressing room and not a leader. I don’t mind his goal production but the ask from the Maple Leafs is probably Bennett, unless the Leafs want Calgary’s 1st round pick next year and some young prospects. Kessel is more of a supplementary guy, I don’t know how he can help the Flames if he gives a half effort. That would really rub the up and coming young players the wrong way.

    • Brent G.

      As much as I would love Tarasenko, St Louis is not like Sweeney. They will match any offer sheet & they would want the moon, starting with Bennett & ending with our 1st round pick. I happy with the Dougie Hamilton miracle. I believe, I don’t need another miracle. 🙂

  • Only if they take back the former Leafs we already have Stajan,Raymond and Colborne. In all honesty I am not surprised to hear this rumour. Treliving seems to always be talking to every GM in the league. That is how he ended up with Hamilton and other guys are scratching their @sses going “I didn’t know he was available.”

  • Ajwl27

    As both a leaf and flame fan, I say no! The flames need the cap space. The leafs need prospects. The flames need prospects. They both can not have the same prospects. It just doesn’t work.