Although the Phil Kessel deal might have hindered the Leafs more than it helped them, Leafs GM Brian Burke went back to Boston a season later, this time striking gold.
Looking to become younger and more refined, Burke traded away the Leafs’ veteran defenseman Tomas Kaberle to the Bruins in return for top prospect Joe Colborne, a first round draft pick and a second round conditional pick just before last season’s trade deadline on February 18.
The Leafs acquired the second round conditional either if Kaberle resigned with the Bruins or if Boston made it to the Cup Finals.
Not only did Boston make the Finals, they eventually won the Stanley Cup in six games. But it came at a steep price for the Bruins’ future.
Colborne is now the Leafs number one ranked prospect and Tyler Biggs, the Leafs’ draft selection after Burke traded up both of Boston’s picks, isn’t too far behind.
Colborne, 21, scored 55 goals and 90 points in 33 games for the Camrose Kodiaks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in 2007-08. The 6”5, 213-pound center, who played the last two season with the Providence Bruins and Toronto Marlies, is a crafty play-maker with great hands and great vision with the puck.
The Leafs traded up both Boston’s picks to draft Tyler Biggs at 22nd overall. Biggs, 18, scored 22 points in games with the U.S National Development team during the last two seasons. The 6″2 200-pound right winger is supposed to be a Brian Burke-esque physical player.
What the Leafs lost in the Kessel deal, prospects, they gained in the Kaberle deal.
Kaberle didn’t exactly set the world on fire in Boston, either, scoring 9 points in 24 games, which is lower than his career average of 0.59 points per game.
Boston traded Kessel to Toronto in exchange for a 2011 first round draft pick (which turned into 2nd overall Tyler Seguin), a 2011 second rounder (32nd overall’s Jared Knight) and a 2012 first rounder (9th overall’s Dougie Hamilton) on September 18, 2009,
Although the 23-yaer-old sniper has lead the Leafs in goal-scoring for two consecutive seasons with over 100 accumulated points, the deal saw the Leafs send away a pair of very high draft picks, crucial for a young rebuilding team if they want to progress.
While the book is officially closed on the players involved in the trades, the book is still open on how they will produce in their NHL careers.
But at least the deal looks a whole lot better for Toronto now.
The Bruins end up with a Stanley Cup in the short-run and some prospects in the long-run.
The Leafs get a playoff contender in the short-run and a Stanley Cup contender in the long-run.