Dubas fielding trade calls, Leafs not looking to retain Kessel’s salary

Elliotte Friedman released this week’s edition of Thirty Thoughts on Sunday morning and there were a few interesting Leafs tidbits – mainly regarding their front office operations, and of course, the potential upcoming Kessel trade.

Toronto is going forward through the draft without a true general manager at the helm but Friedman shed a little light on how they’d be approaching things in the meantime.

The Maple Leafs sent out a communiqué last week indicating any team wanting to talk trade should go through assistant GM Kyle Dubas.

With Mark Hunter focusing primarily on the draft, it seems the Leafs have dished much of the pro-level roster decisions to Dubas, which, as Friedman alluded to, signifies the level of trust he’s established in the eyes of Shanahan. There was some talk that this indicated Dubas as the next full-time general manager, but that doesn’t appear to be the case yet. They’re basically just operating as a duo, each with their specific focuses.

On the Leafs shopping Kessel, and how they’ll make the money work:

Toronto’s let it be known it will take salary back for Phil Kessel, but there is a limit. It’s got to be less (in term and value) than Kessel’s. The Maple Leafs are more interested in prospects and draft picks, but recognize that alone won’t get a deal done. Since the idea is to help create cap flexibility, it doesn’t make sense to receive a similar contract in return.

For some reason this sent everyone off a ledge thinking the Leafs would retain part of Kessel’s eight-million dollar cap hit, but that clearly isn’t the case. 

I think most of us have assumed to this point that any team dealing with the Leafs for Kessel would have to send back some money to make it work. This would go along the same lines as the potential Phaneuf to Detroit deal that was rumored in March, where Toronto would have likely taken back Stephen Weiss who is a little cheaper and will have his contract expire sooner. If the Leafs are willing to take back that sort of contract, it would obviously maximize the return they get in the rest of the deal, but as Friedman mentioned, they will only go so far.

  • CMpuck

    According to Friedman Carolina is getting calls on Skinner and may package Semin with 5th overall to dump his contract.

    Could Dubas land Skinner, Semin, 5th overall for Kessel? Can always flip Skinner after the fact for another pick if he isn’t a fit.

    Also wonder if management gets ahead of the draft like the did with Franson/Santorelli or did they feel burnt by the ridiculous prices on deadline day.

      • CMpuck

        Obviously Strome and I like Provorov more than I like Hanifin, I get that’s totally up for criticism though. Provorov is a polarizing prospect, I’m drinking the koolaid when it comes to him.

        Look I’m not going to complain if we take Marner, he’s a great prospect, my point of view is that if picks 3-6 are relatively equal I’m much prefer to invest in center and defense.

        Or if we could trade down for Connor+ or even Barzal+ I’d be happy with that.

  • SEER

    After a week or two in training camp with Babs.., I bet that Kessel will either start playing a two-way game.., or up his trade clause to 29 teams.. LOL!

    No special treatment, from Babcock.. Whatever status of player will either play 110%, or be sat in the Press Box.., or traded… imo..