Kessel and Lupul Split, is it Time for Bigger Changes?
The Mix Up
On the “breaking news” that Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel had been split up to balance out the line up, it might be time to consider that this team needs more than a little spark to reach the post season dance. The Toronto Maple Leafs have failed to qualify for the playoffs since the 2003-04 season. Fans have been tortured with “quick fixes” which have been just as effective as get rich quick schemes. With Brian Burke at the helm, this team has undergone a large, quick, and incredibly effective thus far rebuild, although you’ll never get Brian Burke to call it that.
When Phil Kessel was acquired, Leaf fans cringed at the loss of two first round picks, one of which turned out to be Tyler Seguin, current plus/minus leader in the NHL. That trade aside, not many can argue with the trades that Brian Burke has made, so is it time for another?
On the heels of three straight losses, in which the Leafs began to look stale for the first time this season , Ron Wilson has thrown the bingo balls in the mixer and thrown together some new lines.
Brown – Steckel – Crabb
Cody Franson – Jake Gardiner
Lupul and Kessel, who at the time of writing this sit 4th and 9th in scoring, have been a fearsome twosome in the NHL. Not quite the Sedins, but give Lupul a square head and lighter hair and you might think these two were twins separated at birth. Separating these two is simply not enough to turn the ship around. By compromising their chemistry together, you may achieve some more balanced scoring, but when three goals a game from Kessel and Lupul turns into three goals a game from Lupul, Connolly, and Kessel, the Leafs problems are not solved.
There are trades that can be made by Brian Burke that will help this team immediately, and in the future. The size of these trades would have Brian Burkes stamp all over them. So here are some potential trade scenarios that @LeafsBB20 may be looking at.
- Mikhail Grabovski, Nazem Kadri, Carl Gunnarsson or Keith Aulie, 2012 1st Round Pick, 2013 1st Round Pick
- Ryan Getzlaf
- Clarke MacArthur, Joe Colborne, Keith Aulie or Carl Gunnarsson, 2012 1st Round Pick
- Bobby Ryan
- Keith Aulie, Korbinian Holzer, Nazem Kadri, 2012 2nd Round Pick
- Jeff Carter
- Keith Aulie, Mikhail Grabovski or Clarke MacArthur, Conditional Pick (TBD) based on Suter re-signing
- Ryan Suter, Conditional Pick (TBD)
All of these trades would help the Leafs now and in the future with perhaps the exception of Ryan Suter if he doesn’t re-sign. This is not based on any insider knowledge, just purely speculative fun. You may think the Leafs are overpaying or underpaying for certain players, which provides fun discussion. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts in the comments.