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The case against trading for Phil Kessel

While it could be a storybook ending, Boston shouldn’t bring Kessel home.

NHL: Boston Bruins at Arizona Coyotes Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL Trade Deadline is inching closer and there’s plenty of talk about the Boston Bruins bringing back Phil Kessel.

In terms of a story, it would be a great move. Imagine if over a decade later, Kessel returns to the B’s and is able to finish his career by winning a Stanley Cup with the franchise that drafted him fifth overall back in 2006?

It’s hard to think of a better way for Kessel’s career to end (should he decide to hang ‘em up after this season, which isn’t a guarantee).

This season, Kessel has currently racked up six goals and 27 assists in 54 games this season. [ed. note: as of Friday AM, 3/4].

In the 2020-21 season, Kessel only played three more games and was able to score 20 goals and 23 assists.

Boston would be hoping that Kessel would return to previous form, since he would be playing with some great players in Boston — Arizona is where hockey careers go to die, so it’s hard to blame Kessel for his struggles.

But the Bruins would be making a mistake bringing Kessel back.

First off, Kessel is 34 years old. Boston is in no need of another aging forward. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand aren’t getting younger. Life without these stars is inching closer and closer.

The B’s need to get younger. They need to continue to acquire assets and get some quality draft picks to replenish their prospect pool.

While the urge exists to give Bergeron and Marchand one last run, Kessel won’t push them over the championship hump.

As currently constructed, the Bruins seem primed for a first or second-round exit. The addition of Kessel won’t change that.

In my opinion, Boston needs to strengthen its blue line. Only then will they have a chance to win a Stanley Cup.

Bruins fans also need to consider the cost of acquiring Kessel.

While he won’t cost a premium (reportedly in the neighborhood of a third-round pick), the Bruins needs to be acquiring draft picks, not getting rid of them.

Kessel has a no-trade clause, but it seems safe to assume that he would waive it to come back to Boston if the Coyotes asked.

His contract expires at the end of the season, so the Bruins didn’t need to worry about him affecting the cap long term.

But Boston shouldn’t waste its time. The Bruins needs to shore up the blue line before thinking about adding some scoring.

Acquiring Kessel won’t have the desired effect on the roster. The Bruins will still be a ways away from winning a Stanley Cup in 2022 and will have only added to their age, losing assets for the future in the process.


Should the Bruins acquire Phil Kessel?

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  • 13%
    Yes - only for a third
    (83 votes)
  • 31%
    Yes - only for a fourth or lower
    (193 votes)
  • 54%
    (334 votes)
610 votes total Vote Now