Yes, Kessel looks great…

8 Comments

Was the Phil Kessel trade good for the Leafs after all?

That’s what TSN’s Dave Hodge is wondering in his weekly feature, “Hodgemail.”

Kessel has seven goals and five assists in Toronto’s first five games. The Leafs are 4-0-1, first in the Northeast. For a fan base that hasn’t experienced the playoffs since 2004, life is good. So it’s a timely question to ask.

But come on, let’s not get carried away.

The price the Leafs paid the Boston Bruins for Kessel were draft picks that turned into forward Tyler Seguin (second overall in 2010), forward Jared Knight (32nd in 2010), and defenseman Dougie Hamilton (ninth overall in 2011). Seguin and Hamilton have star potential. Knight could be very good as well.

And here’s something else to consider. Kessel only has three years left on his contract, after which he becomes an unrestricted free agent. The Leafs will have the inside track on re-signing him, but at what cost?

Toronto still isn’t a Cup contender. The Leafs might be 4-0-1, but they also just played four straight home games against non-playoff teams after opening the season in Montreal against the Canadiens, who’ve looked awful so far. Let’s see how they do on their four-game road trip that starts tonight in Boston, with games against the Habs, Rangers and Flyers to follow.