I appreciate the feedback I've gotten from the talk I had with Kyle Woodlief. It's the kind of post that gets the juices flowing right before Thanksgiving as the weather gets colder and the hockey races heat up.
One question I did ask him was what he thought about the trade that sent Phil Kessel to Toronto for the high picks in 2010 and 2011. He didn't want to go into the psychology behind what motivated the Bruins to move Kessel other than saying that they obviously saw something about him they didn't like to trade a 22-year-old coming off of a 36-goal season, and one who, had he not been sidelined with mono at midseason, very likely would have potted 40 or more.
That said- Woodlief said that if Toronto's pick hovers around top-five, the Bruins will get a player of comparable value, because he sees the 2010 top-five as being very close in terms of upside to the class of '06, when Kessel was taken fifth overall. The real issue lies with how long it make take whomever the Bruins choose to make the team and have an impact. Kessel was in the NHL at 18, and although it took him until his third season to show off the consistent scoring we all know he brings to the table, he was someone who paid immediate dividends.
Tyler Seguin, Taylor Hall and Cam Fowler all look like players who could be skating in the NHL a year from now, but beyond those guys, the crystal ball is a little cloudier.
In any case- it's an interesting discussion that is going to take years to play out before a definitive case for which team won the deal can be made either way. If the Leafs stay in the tank and the Bruins can land a skilled, talented player who is a little more socially adept and committed to the organization- a better fit overall than Kessel was- then I think they'll be happy.
Kudos to Kessel for how well he's played in Toronto so far, but he can only put the puck in the net or help his teammates to do so...he can't keep them out of his own net. Every point the Leafs lose in the standings pushes Boston closer to landing one of the real draft bonanza players in the 2010 class. Brian Burke, in going out and surrendering three high picks for Kessel, has essentially robbed Peter to pay Paul. It's a tough challenge for him to overcome this season, because he doesn't have a lot of tradeable assets he can use to make his team better with.
That's why I think this blog is going to continue to gain followers as the season rolls on...like 1997, this draft year will have more buzz for B's fans than any other in history.