Leafs Get Top Prospects, Pick; Send Kessel to Penguins


After weeks of speculation, the Toronto Maple Leafs have finally moved Phil Kessel. Kessel is shipped to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for prospects Kasperi Kapanen and Scott Harrington along with a first round pick.

The Penguins have been lookingto make a splash all off season and fans were disappointed at the lack of activity at the draft. Now Kessel is added to a strong Pittsburgh offense that includes Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Kapanen is an 18 year old forward and Hockey’s Future had this to say about him:

"Kasperi Kapanen plays a cerebral game with the skills and speed to allow him to make the proper plays in all situations and make the players around him better. While not overwhelming from a physical standpoint and with room to continue growing, his hockey sense is on par with the other top players in his age group and he maximizes his talents to get the best out of his game."

Here is what they say about Harrington:

"Harrington is a reliable two-way defenseman with phenomenal hockey IQ and on ice-awareness. He is a strong, mobile skater and is particularly adept winning 50/50 battles in the corner and quickly getting the puck out of the defensive zone. Harrington has the vision and puck-skills to make good first passes and start the play up ice. He ultimately projects as a safe and smart stay-at-home defenseman capable of making a good first pass and playing 15-20 minutes a game."

This is a pretty decent haul for Toronto, since the world knew they wanted to trade Kessel. The Penguins have been one of the only specific teams linked to him.

Kessel is in the second year of an eight year deal he signed with Toronto in 2013 for $64 million. It appears the Penguins will take the brunt of the salary. Toronto will pay just 15% of the contract.

Kessel is still just 27 years old and has been in the NHL for nine years, split between Toronto and the Boston Bruins, who drafted him.

Pittsburgh suffered from injuries at the end of the season and they barely made the playoffs before losing in the first round to the New York Rangers. A lot of their injuries were on defense but their offense still struggled.

This could make the Penguins a favorite in a strangely evolving eastern conference. With Kessel on board, the Penguins offense should be feared mode than ever.

And for the Leafs, Mike Babcock took a strong return for the team’s development.