Maple Leafs Trade Forward Phil Kessel


Many members of Leafs Nation were instantly heartbroken on July 1st, when they heard that fan favourite, Phil Kessel, along with Tyler Biggs and Tim Erixon had been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Kasperi Kapanen, Nick Spaling, Scott Harrington and conditional draft picks.

Phil Kessel, who was drafted back in 2006 by the Boston Bruins was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2009 and immediately became the teams star.  In 2013, the Leafs and Kessel reached a deal made for 8 years worth over $60 million. After the deal was made, Kessel tweeted that he was “happy to be a Maple Leaf for the next 8 years”, which was something that most Leafs fans agreed with. The Leafs will retain 15% of Kessel’s annual salary of $8 million while he plays for the Penguins, adding up to $1.25 million per season. It was reported several times that new Leafs head coach Mike Babcock did not want to coach Kessel, nor would they “go well” together, which was one of the reasons why Kessel was traded.

“We were looking for players for the future”, Leafs President Brendan Shanahan said on Wednesday afternoon. “Pittsburgh was looking for players for the present. He had productive years, he’s a talented player. This wasn’t about singling out one guy.”

Several fans and critics say even though Kessel was the Leafs star, he did not live up to his full potential wearing the Blue and White and will now be able to in Pittsburgh alongside league stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. While Leafs fans are sad to see their favourite player leave Toronto, they are also happy knowing that Kessel will be a better preformer in Pittsburgh and hopefully treated better there as well. For 6 years, Kessel was the most productive Leafs player and at the same time was the most criticized. He was questioned daily by critics and Toronto media about his health, fitness and whether or not he was able to do what the coaches instructed him to do.

Although Kessel was widley criticized by the Toronto media, Leafs fans were able to have a good laugh at a few things Kessel replied back to reporters in times of doubt. “You think it’s my fault?” was a good one, after Kessel was accused of being the reason why coach Randy Carlyle was fired. Phil Kessel was known as a hilarious guy around the locker room. His teammates and Leafs fans loved him. Toronto Sun columnist, Steve Simmons wrote an article with the title as “Leafs were sick and tired of Kessel.” It is writers and people apart of the media like him who make NHL players not want to play for the Maple Leafs. The city of Toronto and Leafs fans are rather “sick and tired” of people like Steve Simmons, who always have something negative to say about the Maple Leafs. It is time for them to leave their rude comments to themselves.

It would have been nice to see Kessel have a real chance to be a winner in Toronto, like he said he wanted to be. On behalf of Leafs Nation, I thank Phil Kessel for all he has done for the team over the past 6 seasons. Kessel will be greatly missed and we wish him the best in Pittsburgh.






Toronto Maple Leafs writer for Hockey Tracker. Born and raised Leafs fan, with an extreme passion for hockey.

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