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Phil Kessel Anticipation Station

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Phil Kessel has made it clear that he doesn't intend to negotiate any longer with the Bruins, his Toronto-based agent in recent days informing the Boston front office that the right winger's priority instead is to sign a free-agentoffer sheet with one of the league's 29 other teams. - Bruins Blog

The day is here, Phil Kessel isn't negotiating with Boston and is waiting for an offer sheet to sign. This alone doesn't mean that Kessel won't stay with Boston or is hostile towards management. This means Kessel is testing the waters. Boston reserves the right to match any offer made to Kessel or to accept compensatory draft picks from the team that signs him to the offer sheet.

Kessel's looking for salary in the $4.5-$5M range meaning compensation for signing Kessel will be a first, second and third round draft pick. Is this worth it?

Here are some things to consider:
  1. The players who scored more goals per game than Kessel last year are: Alexander Ovechkin, Jeff Carter, Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, Marian Hossa, Thomas Vanek.
  2. The 2010 draft contains two good draft picks up top (Taylor Hall and Kirill Kabanov) but allegedely drops off quickly after that. The Leafs will probably be picking between 12-18.

The easiest way to explain why this is worth it is the following: if a team drafts a player who's only the 12th best prospect of his draft class it's unlikely he'll blossom into the 12th leading goal scorer in the NHL by age 21 as Kessel has. If the price of turning a mid round first into truly elite talent is a second and a third round draft pick there's no question at all: make the deal.

We'll hear an awful lot about how Toronto always trades their draft picks and needs to rebuild and this is completely different: Kessel is still only 21. This isn't giving up the future for a washed up asshole like Owen Nolan, this is guaranteeing our first rounder next year is an NHL superstar. Let's hope Burke makes the most attractive offer and Kessel is wearing blue and white this fall.