There’s been a lot of talk about the Phil Kessel trade in the last few days with the Boston Bruins locking up the second pick overall in the 2010 NHL Draft. In that trade, the Bruins also received a second round pick in 2010 and a first round pick in 2011.
Brian Burke has said a number of times over the past few days that he would still make this trade right now. To me, it seems a little far-fetched to be saying that when you could have had the number two overall pick in the NHL Draft. I’ll be the first one to say that prospects and picks are often overrated but in this case, I don’t think they are. Let’s take a look at the list of forwards selected in the first two picks of the NHL Draft from 1997 to 2008 and their statistics in the 2009-2010 season:
|James Van Riemsdyk||63||14||19||33||0.52|
In 2009-2010, Phil Kessel recorded 55 points in 70 games which is equal to 0.79 points per game. Kessel would therefore rank 15th out of 19 on that list. If we look at the names near the bottom of that list, Jordan Staal and James Van Riemsdyk are both younger than Kessel and most would argue that they will be as good or better than Kessel in a couple of years. In other words, of all the top two forwards chosen since 1997, Phil Kessel is better than only two (Legwand and Stefan) and pretty similar to three others (Bobby Ryan, Jordan Staal and James Van Riemsdyk).
If Hall or Seguin turns out to be like one of those three players, Boston would still get the edge because of the additional picks that they received in the trade. The Toronto Maple Leafs therefore have about an 11% chance (2 out of 19) of winning this trade. You can even assume that John Tavares will be better than Phil Kessel if you want and make it an even 10%.
I’m not saying it’s a bad trade, because if the Leafs had finished in 25th or better they probably would have gotten the edge. In all honesty, if I was Brian Burke, I probably would have made this trade when he made it, but there’s no way I’d do it now knowing what we know.