Thank you, Kessel.
It's what Bruins fans chant whenever the Maple Leafs go to Boston. They are thankful the ever-impatient Toronto organization traded two first-rounders and a second for Phil Kessel in 2009. Those first-rounders were turned into studly centre Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton, a top blueline prospect.
When you go back over the Leafs' recent history, had just a few moves been done differently — and more young players held onto — a radically different starting lineup could have emerged.
Bruins fans might also be thankful that the Leafs, having determined Ed Belfour was no longer welcome in blue and white in 2006, traded goalie prospect Tuukka Rask to Boston for Andrew Raycroft. The Leafs host Boston, with Rask the No. 1 man in net, on Saturday.
San Jose Sharks fans, too, can be grateful that the Leafs — having determined in 2007 that Raycroft wasn't the answer, either — traded a first-round pick for Vesa Toskala. The Sharks ended up with Logan Couture and his back-to-back 30-goal seasons.
"What would the Leafs look like with Tuukka Rask, Logan Couture, Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton?" says Craig Button, a former NHL general manager and now analyst for TSN. "You'd have a No. 1 and No. 2 centre, a top-three defenceman and a No. 1 goalie."
Maple Leafs' trades with Bruins, Sharks opportunities lost
Toronto Star | Jan 29