Kessel deal coming full-circle as Leafs miss out on local star
|06.25.10 at 9:53 pm ET|
There were a lot of things about the first round of Friday night’s NHL draft that seemed a little funny. Both league-wide and specifically to the Bruins, the first 30 picks were laced with irony and confusion. Some blatant examples: Two perceived top defenseman fell out of the top 10. The team that needed centers took winger Taylor Hall, which led to the team with too many centers taking Tyler Seguin.
A few storylines stand out with the Bruins’ new center, one of which is that he was the top-ranked player in the draft by NHL Central Scouting, yet went second. Just as fascinating, however, is the team he went to, and with which pick.
Every young hockey player’s dream is to play in the NHL, and with his selection Friday night Seguin will undoubtedly realize his lifelong goal. However, the path to Boston, a city he spoke about with excitement Friday night, ultimately went through the team he grew up admiring as a child.
Born in Brampton, Ontario, Seguin was close enough to Toronto to be a Maple Leafs fan. In addition to being an Original Six rival of the Black and Gold, the Maple Leafs were a trade partner in the move that would eventually bring Seguin to Boston. The Bruins acquired three picks from the Leafs last offseason in the Phil Kessel deal, including the first-rounder that became the pick used on the Plymouth Whalers center.
“Growing up I was the local guy,” Seguin said. “I liked watching the Leafs because they were the local team. Now that it happened, I think it’s meant to be. I think things worked out throughout my life and anyone’s lives. It’s just where we were supposed to fall, and Boston was the team that was supposed to pick me.”
What makes it so interesting is the story the pick could have been if it stayed in Toronto. The hometown kid who grew up cheering on the Leafs goes to the historic franchise to give them a shot of both youth and scoring. Instead, he’s gone to the rival, a Bruins team that has seemed to be knocking at the door for two seasons now.
So does the team that will also see their second-rounder Saturday and first-round pick next year made by the Bruins regret the deal?
“We made this trade,” Leafs GM Brian Burke said at the draft. “We took our chance on how our team would finish. We talked about the possibility that it could be a lottery pick. … We said, ‘Well what if it is Taylor Hall? What if it is Tyler Seguin?’ and we said ‘We’re going to make that trade anyway.’ We got the player we wanted and I hope Boston got the player they wanted.”