Blog Entry

Brian Burke says Bruins won Phil Kessel trade

Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:39 am

By Brian Stubits

For the rest of time, or at least Brian Burke's tenure in Toronto, the trade he executed to land Phil Kessel from the Bruins will be dissected. If his time in Toronto were up today, there's no doubt it would be his lasting legacy.

The Bruins gave up Kessel at a cost of three draft picks from the Maple Leafs, their first- and second-round selections in the 2010 draft and first pick in the 2011 draft. Those draft slots yielded Tyler Seguin, Jared Knight and Dougie Hamilton for Boston.

Since that trade, it's been all things up for the B's. That's not to say Kessel was the problem in Boston, just that the good times have rolled since the trade and Seguin played a small part in the Bruins capturing the Stanley Cup.

That led Burke to his conclusion as to who actually "won" the trade, from the National Post.

"Peter Chiarelli has a ring. There’s no argument," Burke said before the Leafs lost 6-2 in Boston on Thursday. "Whenever people question whether the trade worked or not, he holds up his right hand and you can’t say anything."

Don't mistake the candor for regret. Burke doesn't have any of that.

“When people ask: Would we make the trade again? I say, 'In a heartbeat,'" Burke said. “I don’t care about the other team. I think Phil is a great player for us and he’s showing it.

“The goals and assists are nice. But he’s been so much more.”

This is why I can't get on board with Burke. I get the sense he's saying it to be humble as well as to put the conversation to rest. It is still impossible to grade this trade accurately. After all, Kessel is on his way to putting up Wayne Gretzky numbers (we just had to include that, ahhhh Leafs fans).

Moreover, the trade didn't directly lead the Bruins to the Cup. As mentioned, only Seguin played a role in Boston's championship.

That didn't stop the Boston faithful from showering Kessel with their appreciation during the game.

I know everybody likes to jump to conclusions on these things quickly. But trades can often take years to fully review. At this point, with Kessel getting off to such a hot start, it's hard to say the Leafs are going to get that short of a short end on the stick. Maybe Hamilton and Knight don't pan out for Boston, You never know. But what we do know is that Kessel has been pretty good for Toronto. Maybe he ends up leading them to a Stanley Cup down the line (hey, it could happen). What then?

So while Burke thinks the decision is already final, only more time will tell.

Hat Tip to Pro Hockey Talk

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.


Since: Jun 8, 2009
Posted on: October 22, 2011 10:52 am

Brian Burke says Bruins won Phil Kessel trade

There is no doubt in my mind that Burke lost in this trade - not because Seguin is necessarily a better player, or because Knight and Hamilton have the potential to be great players - but because he OVER-PAID for a guy that was not going to sign in Boston. The Bruins were up against the cap and could not/would not give Kessel the money he wanted. As and RFA, the Leafs could have signed him to an offer sheet and had him for a 1st, 2nd and 3rd (2009 RFA compensation for a guy signing a 5year/$27million contract - avg. $5.4million/year). So the difference between Kessel's value and what Burke paid is a 2010 3rd rounder versus a 2011 1st rounder. Can Kessel play the game? Based on his performance thus far i'd have to say yes. Are the Leafs a better team with him? Again, I'd have to say yes. But without him they'd be 2years into rebuild with a talented group of youngsters all with an abundance of upside. And even if they'd only paid market value for him they'd be in a better position - Burke could have traded this past years 1st rounder if he was adament about building his team through trades rather than the draft. But no, Burke let his "higher" moral standing get in the way and he grossly over-paid for Kessel. So I agree with Burke, he "lost" this trade. To his credit, i do think that he "won" the Phaneuf trade (not quite Fletcher's robbery of Gilmour, but good none-the-less!).

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: October 21, 2011 10:51 pm

Brian Burke says Bruins won Phil Kessel trade

Leafs lost the trade no matter what because Burke blinked. He came in and cleaned house, which is fine, he wanted to put his mark on the team. This also sends a strong message that they were in rebuilding mode and for the fans to lay off. After all, he gets one shot at this, the fans will be after his head in two years so he's got to do it while the honeymoon is still on. The mistake, however, is in trading draft picks for a guy who MIGHT help you now. These draft picks were going to be high, because he just dumped all his talented players save one, so only a fool would have thought that it was going to be outside of the top ten. So the trade was a mistake because it doesn't fit into the strategy that he was following. The only possible way it makes sense is if you really believe that your scouts are all idiots and any draft pick is a complete waste of time, but who would admit that? Even then, if your scouts really should be fired, you can't go wrong with a top three pick if you take the consensus pick.
Let's put it this way. The trade was the equivalent of the Oilers giving up Hall and Nugent-Hopkins, two almost sure first line players that so far look great together, for a good second liner.

Since: Mar 1, 2007
Posted on: October 21, 2011 9:59 pm

Brian Burke says Bruins won Phil Kessel trade

soxceltspatb's,    The scenario of Team A and B does work. The Leafs got more in Kessel than a proven goal scorer. They got a guy who they feel is a leader and a guy they can build AROUND!! Right or wrong, that was the plan. If you are looking at him as just a goal scorer, then you're right....dumb trade. But, thats not what they were shooting for.

   The Leafs wanted a player to build around; a goal scorer they could build around. They got him. My Bruins (I was live in Vancouver for game 7, by the way----GREAT) were able to keep the team they had, free up cap space, and continue to ensure the future remained strong. They did that.

   The teams were not in the same mode, I 100% agree. They were in two different modes, which was the point I was making to begin with. This is why it is way too hard to call a winner and a loser since both teams had different agendas in that trade. They both far! We will know if they both actually won in a few years (ie if Kessel is still the leader and the Leafs successfully built around him; AND the if the Bruins are still a viable contender when their youth (seguin, Hamilton, etc) are able to fill in and keep the team as a threat to win every night. At that point, we will be able to say if one team did better or not. Until then, they have both done well and filled the respective gaps they were trying to fill.

Since: Sep 16, 2007
Posted on: October 21, 2011 7:27 pm

Brian Burke says Bruins won Phil Kessel trade

At any time, any one of the players traded could get injured, and that changes everything. Wait five years before deciding who benefited most.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: October 21, 2011 6:53 pm

Brian Burke says Bruins won Phil Kessel trade

The trade is what it is Boston would have won the ring regardless of the trade the difference is Kessel does not have a ring and Seguin does, Actually Kessel would have made more of a difference than Seguin

The team is who won the Cup backstopped by Thomas

Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: October 21, 2011 5:03 pm

Brian Burke says Bruins won Phil Kessel trade

After all, Kessel is on his way to (we just had to include that, ahhhh Leafs fans). 


Phil Kessel currently has a 31.8 Shot %   ....  his career Shot % is 10.7  .....   i'm gonna go out on a limb and say he might cool off just a bit and won't be breaking any of Gretzky's records any time soon.   One's things for sure, we won't be accusing Leafs fans of being too intelligent any time soon.

CLUE-LESS Embarassed

Since: Dec 10, 2007
Posted on: October 21, 2011 4:22 pm

Brian Burke says Bruins won Phil Kessel trade

i think each team won in their own way.

boston won in the sense that they got 3 great prospects and saved a lot of cap room which allowed them to spend money on other guys that helped them win the cup.

toronto win in the sense that they got a young goal scorer. if the leafs didn't have kessel, their offense would be absolutely terrible.

not evey trade works out for each team. this team is paying dividends for both teams.  

Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: October 21, 2011 4:17 pm

Brian Burke says Bruins won Phil Kessel trade

I'll retract that he'll be past his prime .... he's only 24 now.  (looks 30 though, so easy mistake).   But again, as I noted, he'll be a free agent by the time the Leafs get competitive.  Think he's gonna wanna stick around a loser ... doubt it.   And with his inflated stats he's probably gonna want some insane contract much higher than he's already getting now ...  as a career MINUS player .. Good luck with that!

Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: October 21, 2011 4:08 pm

Brian Burke says Bruins won Phil Kessel trade

D1969 ... that all sounds great ... BUT .. if the Leafs were truly in "rebuild mode" .. then adding a one-way sniper really does NOTHING for their team but provide some offense in the short term and only hamper them in the long term.   Why's that ... well .. by the time Toronto becomes competitive, and I mean more than winning their first 5 games, like they did last year ... Kessel will be a free agent again and be past his prime.  Toronto messed up BIGTIME by losing out on two great draft picks on guys that coulda actually grew with the team as they became competitive.   This is the after math of Toronto completely sucking and thus having the Bruins get two fantastic picks.  Burke is right that he'd do the trade again as he did WITH NO KNOWLEDGE of how it panned out.  But AFTER THE FACT shows, he clearly shouldn't have made that trade .. and even he knows that.  He over-estimated Kessel and the impact he would have, and he over-valued how good his team was .. and by doing that, he screwed up as the Leafs were bottom dwellers and the picks turned out to be GOLD.   LEAFS LOSE .. simple as that. 
And btw .. the money we saved by not having Kessel allowed up to sign Lucic longterm ... just another sidenote of why that trade helped the Bruins immeasurably.   And without Seguins monster game against the Bolts .. the B's may not get past the Eastern Conf. Finals ... both of these were direct results of the Kessel trade ... not to mention Hamilton and Knight.

You scenario of Trading between team A and B works great ... if the two teams trading are in the right mode to do so.  The Leafs CLEARLY were not in contention mode and therefore signing an established offensive player like Kessel, when they needed defense actually was about as dumb as it gets.   The 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins thank Burkey the Turkey ... again! 

Since: Mar 1, 2007
Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:21 pm

Brian Burke says Bruins won Phil Kessel trade

;     &nbs
p;     &nb
sp;    i disagree with you that the only way for this to pan out is for the Leafs to compete for a Stanley Cup with Kessel. the fact is, the two teams were at completely different places in their respective franchises. Boston had just about all the tools they needed, and needed to free up cap space. The Leafs had nothing and were rebuilding. they needed a guy to start to build around. The measurement stick of this trade is not the same for each team.
    For the Leafs, the benchmark is "Can you build a franchise around Kessel, and will he hold up as 'the guy'! So far, the answer is yes, as they have ditched anchors, brought in some talented young people and seem to be in the right direction......for now at least.

    For the Bruins, ir was can we take what we have: a contender, become more efficient, and make it that final step to the Stanley Cup, and still keep the future of the team intact by staying young. The answer to that is yes, as we have already seen to the first part, and we will see how Seguin and others pan out for the answer to the second part.

   the fact of the matter is that both teams won in this trade. they had different needs and both seem to have filled their needs. Too many people try to label a trade as a win or loss based on equal criteria, amateurishly forgetting to factor in the biggest factors of them all, which are the individual needs of the teams involved.

   i will give you a ficticious example. team A has a great defenseman, but little else, and team B has a contender but needs a great defenseman to make a run at a title. they make a trade sending the D-man to the contender (team B) and draft picks and or young prospects to team A. if team B wins the title, does that mean they have won the trade, even if team A now has a nucleus to build a franchise around? No, it doesn't. Team A needs to do the work, and put in the time that Team B already has. There is no guarantee, but the process still needs to be followed. Sometimes you can follow the template and still need to blow it up. Not every team will be a champion as it takes way more than players to win, and be consistent.

  Sorry for the long winded message, but I think you, and many others, rally need to look at the teams themselves and ralize you can't compare two teams who are different styages of their respective franchises. In this trade, i believe both have won.

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