Should the Sens go after Kessel?

After toying with Dany Heatley, it’s still unclear if Dany Boy will stay in the Nation’s Capital. If he is traded, the return would include a second-line centre. In the proposed Edmonton deal, Andrew Cogliano was that fixture. Now that it seems like it will take some salary cap budging to trade Heatley out of Ottawa, Bryan Murray may want to go another route to get that SLC that his team dearly needs.

In one of the previous posts on my previous blog, Sens Buzz, we found out Mike Fisher had the worst production for a SLC last season. Last was Tyler Arnason, who still haunts Sens fans. There aren’t many centres left on the UFA market, and most of them are at best third-liners. We already have ton of those players. Which poses the question, should Murray risk it and go for Phil Kessel?

Kessel, who was drafted 5th overall by the Big Bad Bruins in 2006, suffered testicular cancer early in his NHL career. In all of his seasons, Kessel hasn’t been the point-per-game player he was supposed to be when Pete Chiarelli drafted him. However, last year was his best year, recording 60 points in 70 games. It’s still unclear if his offense was juiced by the Bruins No.1 placing in the East last year, or if he finally is living up to his potential. One thing is known though, his 60 points is higher than Fisher’s 32 points.

Kessel is a RFA, and is not heading to arbitration. That means if he’s going to move to another team, he’s going to have to bem oved or signed to an offer sheet. Giving him an offer sheet is a little bit tricky. According to NHL rules, if you sign an RFA to an offer sheet, you will have to give up draft picks. Here’s the rules.

Amount (Compensation Due)

$865,156 or less (None)

$863, 156 – $1,307,811 (3rd Round Pick)

$1,307,812 – $2,615,625 (2nd Round Pick)

$2,615,623 – $3,923,347 (1st and 3rd Round Pick)

$3,923,437 – $5,231,249 (1st, 2nd, 3rd Round Pick)

$5,231,249 – $6,539,062 (Two 1sts, one 2nd, one 3rd Round Pick)

$6,539,062 or more (4 1st Round Picks)

Let me say that this part of the business is difficult. Last year, when the Sens and Andrej Meszaros where in a dispute, Murray decided to trade Meszaros for Filip Kuba, Alexandre Picard, and a 1st Round Pick (SJ’s). The bolts then signed Meszy to a contract worth $4 million/year. If Ottawa would have let Tampa sign Meszaros to an offer sheet, they would not only get a 1st rounder, but they would get Tampa’s 1st. That’s freaking crazy. We could have had Victor Hedman.

So, to say, Kessel is worth $3.5 million, and the maximum I would give him is $4 million. We can however, acquire him in a trade. The Bruins have had some interest in Heatley but the Sens didn’t want to trade him within the division. However, if Kessel comes back, that could be different.

When you look at the cap, the smartest trade would be Chris Kelly, Christoph Schubert, Louie Caporusso for Phil Kessel, Mark Stuart.

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Tags: Andrej Meszaros Boston Bruins Phil Kessel Restricted Free Agents Second Line Centre

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