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Seguin trade to the Stars takes me back to an earlier VLM post, but will it bring closure for Leaf fans?

I’ll say this for Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli:  he seems to have precious little patience with young players that he believes lack maturity.

He sent Phil Kessel away four years ago, and has now dealt budding star Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars.  Kessel was just shy of 22 when he was moved; Seguin will be 22 in January.

I certainly don’t know all the details of the Kessel move, but there was clearly a clash with head coach Claude Julien at the time. As for Seguin, Chiarelli could not have been more transparent about his displeasure with the young Bruin, saying only days ago that, essentially, Seguin had to grow up.

He’ll have the opportunity to do that in Dallas now.

It’s an interesting decision by the Bruins to say the least.  And it reminds me of a column I posted here at the end of April, before the playoffs got underway.  I wondered aloud if Seguin would really begin to show what he had in the then upcoming playoffs, or whether he was beginning to trend as just another nice young player. (Click here to see that post.)

This is hardly the end for Seguin.  He's awfully young and he may thrive in Dallas and prove any detractors “wrong”.  But Chiarelli doesn’t seem to waste much time worrying about moving young guys that don’t show him they take being a Bruin seriously early in their careers. 

He has lots of time for guys like Marchand, Chara, Seidenberg and Bergeron, who play hard all the time.  Less, it seems, for kids with huge potential but not necessarily the attitude to match their skill level.

I guess from a Leaf standpoint, the question is:  will this (finally) bring closure to the longstanding Kessel/Seguin discussion? Though they weren’t traded “for” each other, the deal was the highlight of Burke’s time here—and perhaps the most polarizing Leaf topic (and there were many) during his tenure as GM.

Kessel becomes a free-agent exactly a year from now. I think the Leafs will make every effort to sign him to a new deal this summer.  I’m not sure how much the Bozak situation will play into that.  We may soon find out.

For now, Kessel is very much a Leaf.  Seguin is no longer a Bruin.  The never-ending Kessel-Seguin  debate is a thing of the past.

Or is it?



  1. And about time Michael! Though I was not for the trade at the time and I hate to admit it but Burke may have been right about signing Kessel way back when. Any time a trade is made I always look at who got the best player, quality over quantity. Seguin may blossom but right now the Leafs got the best player. BTW on Grabbo being bought out I was glad to see them make a bold move although if they don't pick up anyone it could blow up in their face. In spite of his work here I could not see the Leafs winning the cup with Grabbo and the centres they have. The team has to get better and this is where the Bruins ate our lunch, in the faceoff circle. Something big is going to happen, going to be a big day for us Leafers tomorrow!

    1. Yes, it absolutely feels as though Nonis is far from finished, purch. The puzzle will emerge a bit more clearly in the next few days, I would think...

    2. I don't think Grabovski himself was the problem, it was his contract. If there was no provision in the CBA prohibiting teams from re-signing their buyouts I think he would have been back. Well, at least until his post buyout interview...

    3. Grabo can play, Oliver, but as often happens, players get a big contract and eventually it becomes a "bad" contract in the eyes of the team. That's what happened here. He may go on to excel elsewhere. He'll certainly be motivated.

  2. "He has lots of time for guys like Marchand..."

    I think Marchand got two years after draft in the QMJHL and then two years in the AHL before the NHL

    Seguin went right to the NHL after his draft and is still only 21 vs Marchand now at 25.

    Perhaps they rushed Seguin?

    1. I may be in the minority, DP, but I'm long of the view (in fact, I can't remember when I didn't feel this way) that virtually all 18 and 19 year-olds have no place in the NHL. Oh, those with elite skill can be out there, sure, but except in rare cases (Hull, Orr Lemieux, etc.) they still have so much maturing to do. They really belong in junior hockey. (I was thrilled when the Leafs didn't keep Rielly this past season...)

      I know others disagree strongly, but I've never liked the 18 year-old draft, and still don't like to see kids in the league Let them grow up. It didn't hurt Larry Robinson or Denis Potvin to wait to play in the NHL. They did OK. In fact, Robinson benefited from time in the AHL. Well said. Thanks DP.

      Seguin was rushed, no question. But that's what teams do, and I've never understood why.

  3. For me, closure will come when Seguin is wearing a blue and white jersey. Curiously, the other principle in the trade, Loui Eriksson was one of those “disposable” second round picks, albeit a high second round pick. I guess in this instance the value of the second round “commodity” increased.

    Do Kessel and Seguin represent Chiarelli’s Achilles heel in the form of intolerance for certain personalities big or small, or does it represent, like Grabovski, the perils of the cap/free agent system? Probably a bit of both. The system we are stuck with places a lot of pressure on players and managers in negotiations and when they do not perform according to certain performance formulae then the pressure comes back on the manager to move them when they can. In this respect, there is more similarity between the Seguin and Grabovski cases than first meets the eye.

    This rigid performance criterion haunting the cap system is, quite frankly, a pain in the ass. Nonis can wax all he wants about paying good players great money but within the current system the fault lies with the team in not recruiting and developing great players. It is certainly not the player’s fault to be the best a team has got. Nor can the player control for health issues or if he is deployed by the coaching staff in ways that do not conform to performance formulae that rule the cap system. Ultimately, personnel decisions put a team in the position of paying great money to very good players. I guess a little bit of each of those Air Canada Centre tickets sold will find its way into Mikhail’s pocket. It always boils down to money management, after all. Here’s a helpful hint: If you are going to give up three assets for one, don’t pay the other team’s salary as well.

    It’s enough to give you a splitting headache or hours of amusement I guess. At the moment I feel a headache coming on. In my opinion, the root of the problem lies with Bettman’s progeny, the cap system a Machiavellian monster which has come to rule the professional game in far too many ways. I long for the good old days when fans did not need to don a capoligist’s cap to follow the workings of the sport off the ice. When will we see that happen? Probably no sooner than when Tyler Seguin dons a blue and white jersey and skate for the Leafs. What has our sport come to? Do you hear the collective sigh? I sure do.

    1. You're certainly on to something with Bettman's obsession with the cap, Bobby C. As best I can tell, it has not cured all the ills of the sport.

      The fact seems to be that the game is set up for disappointment. By that I mean, teams naturally have to ante up to "keep" players, but ultimately they will, as in the case of Grabovski, more often than not want to cut those players loose.

      The Flyers just signed Giroux, a wonderful player. Gutsy, talented, by all accounts a pretty good leader. But while everyone is happy today, the clock is already ticking on when that will become a "bad" contract (the NBA seems to have nothing but "bad" contracts these days, with GM's looking to unload players they over-paid for in the first place...). What player is really worth giving an 8-year contract to? How did that go for the Isles and DiPietro, Vancouver and Luongo, etc.?

      I have no answer. I guess I see player greed (I mean, who ever wants less? People always want more...) combined with owner greed and that makes for, again, frustration all-around.

      I sometimes wish, I really do, that the Leafs would just build a roster of kids with great attitudes, who work hard, etc. Treat them great, etc. and only ask in return that they work their tails off and represent the logo on the ice and in the community with pride. Once a player hits "free agency", if being a Leaf doesn't mean enough for them to actually want to stay without demanding the moon, let them go and bring on the next kid who will appreciate the opportunity.

      Few players seemed to appreciate being a Leaf more than Grabovski and Komisarek. Yet both ended up leaving badly. Did it have to be this way?

  4. Kessel demanded a trade. Boston was up against the cap. They gave Ryder a big raise and had no money left to meet Kessel's demands. Boston fans have been acting like rejected lovers ever since. Hopefully this will give us closure on a trade that worked out pretty well for the Leafs.

    I do believe that Boston unnecessarily rushed Segiun and have retarded his development. They compounded this by signing him to a largelong term contract. I earnestly hope that the Leafs do not make the same mistake with Rielly. Another year in junior and a year in the AHL would be beneficial, especially for a young defenseman who seem to take longer to develop. From all indications, Nonis will not rush young prospects.

    I hope that the Leafs stay away from most free agents and go the trade route to address their weaknesses. I like Clarkson but fear he will be grossly overpriced. I would like to see them re-sign MacArthur.

    1. I've had the same view on Rielly- let him develop naturally. There is zero need to rush him. Let him be great in junior, spend more time with the Msrlies as possible, and then when he is truly ready, make the jump to the Leafs- and never look back.

      I never liked how they yanked Kadri back and forth. There was no need, and I don't think it helped his development in the end.

      We'll find out soon about Clarkson. Many seemed to think he has been destined for Toronto, but the price may determine how "happy" we are in the end. Thanks, Pete Cam.

  5. For me, the Kessel/Seguin trade had "official" closure - meaning for fans of both teams - during the playoffs this year. No more chants of "thank you Kessel", and the Leafs a scant two minutes from slaying the Beast. The Stars/Bruins trade is further evidence that if there has to be a "winner" in the Kessel/Seguin deal, the Leafs won out. Now I suppose we'll have to see how Hamilton fares in a full season before we never have to hear moaning about this trade again - at least in Leaflandia!.
    As for young players, I couldn't agree more that 18-19 yr olds should be allowed to develop in the minors before moving to the NHL. Not only for skill and maturity, but also for purely physical reasons. I've read more than once that Bobby Orr's career was likely shortened because the musculature/cartilage development in his knees wasn't fully complete before he was subjected to the constant pounding and physical demands of the NHL.

    1. And if ever a young player was ready to play in the NHL, it was Orr. He was strong and immensely talented. Yet, as you say, his early arrival may have accelerated his demise. He had knee issues with the Generals, but we can only imagine how (even more) amazing a career he would have had...thanks Gerund O'.

  6. Hey Michael,

    I come back to VLM after a substantial break but feel now there is lots to think and process it all.

    Can we say thank you Chiarelli? Boston trading tyler gives leafsnation some solace to see Kessel still in Toronto and then gives me a heartache to see what it is taking to keep him here - Signing tyler bozak and buying out grabo.

    I find it a dumb move to buy him out now - rather than to keep him - and see if u could see his value rise and then trade him near the trade deadline for some assets in return. Or trade him on the draft floor for something - anything. Reeks of more player/asset management by Nonis. This is definitely nonis's team now. And I feel Tim (the guy for LA in MLSE management - has a lot to do with this aggressive nature and lack of care for the past relations with players - like Reimer, Grabo, and MacArthur).

    (Side Note - what do u think of grabo's parting shots at Carlyle - sour grapes or something of concern?) I am just glad and appreciative/respectful of grabo that he didn't unleash in the media during the season - like Kessel did a few season's back with Wilson.

    Oh and I frankly hate the Bozak signing and am kinda sad at the term of the Clarkson deal - he is a decent player but not for the coming 7 yrs - a little ridiculous. And any idea who T.J. Brennan is? - we got him for 600K as a depth D I guess.

    And r u kidding me to re-sign both Orr and McLaren to 2-yr extentions?? I like randy's face punching needs to an extent - but not to mind-bending stupidity.

    Anon from Scarborough

    1. You cover a lot of bases, Scarborough Anon- I sense you're right to a point about Leiweke's influence.

      As for Grabbo, it strikes me that this has been a building issue all season. Grabovski said months ago he never spoke with Carlyle, so that tells you the relationship they had. Blame? I don't know.

      I'll try to pen some thoughts on the new signings tonight.....