Red Wings Hypothetical Trade: How Much for Kessel?

Red Wings
(Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)

The trade deadline is just a couple of weeks away, and playoff teams are scrambling to find the missing piece(s) for their team that will put them into Stanley Cup consideration.

Meanwhile, non-playoff teams are looking to deal those valuable pieces to see what kind of prospects and picks they can get to start rebuilding for the future.

On Thursday, The Score posted an article that said reports claim Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan approved a major overhaul of the team and the article included that Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf are not in the team’s future plans and the plan is to trade both of them before the March 2 deadline.

If this turns out to be true, Toronto’s phones could be ringing off the hook from teams looking to land at least one of these players, as well as any other Maple Leafs who Shanahan might want to deal.

How Much for Phil Kessel?

An interesting proposition was brought up David Malinowski, a hockey analytics researcher who also has contributed to the SB Nation sites Winging It In Motown and Maize n Brew.

This is an interesting trade proposal, because not only do the Detroit Red Wings get Franson and a prolific goal scorer in Kessel, but they get rid of Brian Lashoff and Jakub Kindl, which would help Alexey Marchenko get into the starting lineup and gives players like Ryan Sproul and Nick Jensen an opportunity to see playing time when there are injuries.

Obviously, the downside is the Red Wings would have to give up two of their top-three prospects in Teemu Pulkkinen and Anthony Mantha and a top defensive prospect in Xavier Ouellet. But, that’s the nature of trading; you have to give a little to get a little, or in this case, give up a lot to get a lot.

Of course, whether Toronto would even want a deal that includes Kindl and Lashoff is an entirely different subject. Malinowski is all for the trade and tweeted out what the Red Wings lines would look like should they make that trade.

Is It Worth It?

It’s a very solid lineup for sure. Kessel on the top line with Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader is a dream lineup, and the possibility of Henrik Zetterberg taking Abdelkader’s spot on the wing only makes the line that more dangerous.

But is it worth giving up Pulkkinen, one of the Red Wings’ few right-handed shooters who has an amazing slap shot, and Anthony Mantha, who could develop into a Kessel-type player in the coming years?

I’m torn on this deal, because adding Kessel and Franson immediately makes the Red Wings Stanley Cup contenders, but Kessel has an $8 million cap hit until his contract expires after the 2020-21 season, and Franson is an unrestricted free agent after this season, meaning there is no guarantee he even is on the Red Wings in 2015-16.

However, Kessel is an elite player who has been in the top 10 in scoring the past three seasons. These kind of players don’t come around all that often. Also, Franson takes care of the Red Wings’ need for a right-handed defenseman, and the addition of Marchenko would give the Red Wings two right-handed defensemen.

Malinowski decided to add an addendum to his earlier trade proposal.

If Toronto throws in a high-level prospect and Franson is committed to the Red Wings after this season, I would take the deal. The Red Wings are giving up a lot in prospects, but to be able to shore up the defensive corp and add a multiple 30-goal scorer, it’s a great deal for the Red Wings. Throwing in a prospect like Stuart Percy or Frederik Gauthier only makes it better for Detroit.

Of course, would the Maple Leafs want to make a deal like this? Would they want to see Kessel four to five times per year after getting rid of him? A lot of owners and general managers don’t like to trade within the division for that very reason.

With Ken Holland’s trading history, the odds of a deal like this being made are slim to none, but it’s an interesting proposition nonetheless.

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Tom Mitsos is a Detroit Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins staff writer for The Hockey Writers. You can follow him on Twitter @tom_mitsos.

41 thoughts on “Red Wings Hypothetical Trade: How Much for Kessel?”

  1. Kessel isn’t “elite”, young master Tom. He was dumped by Boston because he was a headcase. He still is a headcase. He doesn’t fit in Detroit, any more than Semin did.

    Totally ridiculous trade proposition.

  2. Mike Babcock is already gone to the Leafs to be there next coach. Babcock wanted out of his contract last summer and Ilitch and Holland wouldn’t do it. Kessel would never be traded to the Wings yet alone traded at all. Surely you had to be aware of this. it was widely reported last summer

  3. There is no way in heck that the Red Wings want Kessel. They are scoring at a high enough clip to win more than they lose. And to give up prospects … really good prospects … for Kessel would be idiotic.

    The Red Wings may or may not need help on defense with a right handed shot, but regardless, they are one of the best teams in the east and bloating their roster with Kessel would be plain dumb.

  4. With Tyler Myers gone, Franson is currently the top available D man that is available at the trade deadline. his asking price is a mid-level prospect and a late first. Thats been common knowledge. If you add Frederick Gauthier or Percy, they are your high-level prospect. Those two players cancel out the first round pick, Pulkinen and Ouelett. So you are proposing Kessel for Kindl, Lashoff and Mantha? dream on.

  5. Gee, give up on future, cost effective prospects, or pay millions in order to get a chubby forward who is responsible for letting in more goals than he is scoring? Decisions, decisions,

    • You want a consistent 30+ goal-scorer, you have to give up something. That’s how trades work. I got it, maybe they’ll take Franzen and kindl straight up! Or Dan Cleary!
      Two years from now, when Datsyuk bolts back to Russia and Z and Kronwall’s production have greatly diminished, you’d better hope Mantha, Pulks and Ouellete pan out, else Detroit is not sniffing a Stanley Cup for a long time.
      Oh, and how is Kessel responsible for giving up more goals than he’s scored? Is he also Toronto’s goaltender? And besides that, he has scored 21, he’s only a -19, on a very bad team. And that “chubby” forward beat out Tyler Seguin for fastest skater.
      And consider this: assuming Kessel hits the 30-goal mark again this season, he will have scored 30+ goals in 6 of his last 7 seasons, the shortened season being the only season he did not, when he scored 20. Not many players in the league who are scoring 30+ goals year in and year out. Ovie? Stamkos? Datsyuk and Zetterberg have only combined for 7 30+ goal seasons in their entire careers. Kessel probably has 7 more 30+ goal seasons ahead of him.

      And Franson is exactly what this team needs on the back-end.

      This is only a twitter proposal. No telling what Toronto might actually ask for. Might be more, might be less. If it’s more, no way. And I would only be willing to make this particular deal contingent on Franson re-signing. If not, we keep the 1st.

      Nothing is a given in the league. Detroit has a great opportunity to win the Cup this season with this trade, imo.

    • Phil Kessel is not responsible for “letting in goals.” He is a sniper, and one of the best in the league. He is not a two-way, 200-foot player, and attempts to force him into that role are misguided and stupid.

      The Laffs’ defensive ineptitude has nothing to do with Phil Kessel.

  6. It’s an interesting theory, I think Toronto will have eat some of Kessel’s contract for him to really go anywhere. I also don’t believe that he would be a 30 goal scorer with detroit as the system is more defensive. As for what detroit would have to give up, think more then what was offered in the article since both are right handed shots. On top of that while he is out now, where does Franzen fit into the line up when/if he comes back…

  7. As a student of the Maple Leafs’ business challenges in turning around the team, I’d beg Detroit to take Kessel off our hands. Or anyone. The man is so gifted an athelete that his prowess and skills shine some nights like fireworks. Some nights. Most nights he is AWOL. He is poison in the room, selfish and decidedly not a teammate or friend to most on the team. Add his churlishness to $8M per annum and you have a secret weapon to destroy any team. Hmmm. Who don;t I like….? Ah, Philadelphia. Okay, how about Kessel for Bill Barber’s old jockstrap. Great trade and there’s goes Philly….down down down.

    • Umm…Philly is already down the drain. And as I said in my previous post, Wings fans said many of the exact same things about Jeff Carter when his name was attached to Detroit a few years back. Don’t think LA is regretting that deal.

  8. It’s funny to me how some of you guys are like “please no, don’t do it Holland”. If you guys know anything by now you guys should know Holland wouldn’t even consider it. Forget that Kessel is not a Detroit type of player, $8M per for what, the next 6 years? Umm yea no way in hell. How would it look if we bring in a guy that would be the highest paid player on the team yet he’s not worth a fraction of what Dats and Z is to our team?? Kessler for all his talents is nothing more than a role player, he will never be the guy you lean on to bring your team to the holly land. Too many of you forget that our organization is NOT STUPID, not stupid enough to make these type of deals. Too many of you are giving yourself brain numbs debating fact from fiction. Just let it go already, this is nothing more than a dumb fan created rumor.

  9. Wouldn’t work very well for the Wings, cap-wise. Would be very hard or impossible to resign Nyquist and Franson, plus Jurco, Smith, and Andersson.

    Lashoff probably lowers the value of the package, so take him out. He’s not hurting anything in GR. Replace Kindl with Quincey (hopefully we can dump Kindl elsewhere) and we’d probably be able to sign everyone. Replace one of Pulkkinen or Mantha with one of Bertuzzi or Nastasiuk. Make the pick conditional on Franson re-signing.

    Quincey, Ouellet, Mantha, Bertuzzi, 3rd, and if Franson re-signs, 2016 1st.

    Value is about the same, Tor could flip Q for another pick/prospect. Bit more palatable for the Wings losing only one top prospect (albeit our best).

  10. Phil kessel is a floater and gave up months ago on the Leafs season .The Wings would not need that in our locker room.The Red Wings could use a offensive minded right handed defenceman. So Dion Phaneuf for a pair of prospects and a pick is a consideration. But to include Anthony Mantha, Teemu Pulkkinen, Ryan Larkin, or Xavier Ouellet is too much. The Leafs are the sellers. The original deal sounds great if the Maple Leafs can also sign Mike Babcock as their new coach this summer!? Good luck Toronto! :-)

  11. I agree Evan. Why throw away your future for something that may or may not work. Lets just say that it Mitsos was the GM the Wings most certainly wouldn’t have the playoff run they have had for how many years.

  12. This would be an idiotic trade and it will never come to pass. Kessel is not worth an $8M cap hit for six more years. Think Franzen deal at the time it was made. Still paying for that. Franson most likely wont resign. Lashoff sucks and Kindl is mediocre, but I wouldn’t do for the other 3 alone let throw in a first rounder, because you’re actually trading for one player.

    I don’t know what Jim’s definition of “years” is. Won it 08, lost it in 09, and two conference semis that went to 7 games in between with a bunch of no-name youngsters. Only the Kings, Blackhawks and Bruins can say they’ve been any better. Bruins are iffy if you look at their seasons on either side of their Cup. People bag on Holland but the organization is one of the best run in all of sports. Let them keep doing what they do best.

  13. Sorry Tom, you are giving up WAAYYYY too much every time you write something like this. This makes no sense at all for the Wings. I know you think your right, but your not. Your proving why analytics are a joke. You look foolish and lose all cred man.

  14. This deal is asinine. The Red Wings are giving up way too much for a diva (even if he is a 30 goal scorer) and a rental at best.

  15. Please no! Kessel is a good goal scorer but the Wings could do without him, Franson no thanks! Is he the elite top 4 PMD that the Wings, not IMO! If the Wings traded those three prospects it had better be for someone like Shea Weber or Drew Doughty not CF!

    • First things first, Nashville and LA are not trading those players, and if there were, it would probably take more than some unproven prospects to bag them. In regards to Kessel. everything Wings fans are saying about him, they said about Jeff Carter when his name was suggested a few seasons ago. “He’s a locker room cancer!”. “He has a bad work ethic”. “The price is too high”. And two LA Stanley Cups later….
      I love this oft repeated criticism about Kessel: “He’s out of shape”. Yet he was the fastest skater at the NHL skills comp. He’s 28, and may have his best years ahead of him, especially if he can get away from the circus that is the Toronto media.
      Yes, we lose two very promising forward prospects and one promising defensive prospect, but we get in return a guy who is an automatic 30-goal scorer who I believe could reach the 40-goal plateau in the next few seasons, and he’s a righty. On defense, we get another righty, with a decent shot, and who can be physical. If we can’t re-sign him, that’s a problem, and some sort of stipulation must be included in the deal, like the 1st turns into a 4th if Franson does not re-sign.

      Basically, you have to ask yourself this: do you want to try and load up and try to win one or two Cups while we still have Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Kronwall, or do you want to wait, and hope those three prospects pan out? No guarantee either way. They may never pan out, or they may develop into studs. And even if Holland made that deal, a Stanley Cup is far from a guarantee. Who knows what direction is the right one?

      But this is all just fun speculation. Not likely to happen, not unless Mantha was removed from the package and a lesser prospect was included, like Athanasiou.

  16. Every trade column gets more ridiculous than the one before. Under no circumstances are the Wings going to take a one way selfish player on a long term contract. Kessel is just about the last guy the Wings would go after. Have you seen him play?

  17. Sounds lot like the trade the Tigers made in 1987 when they got Doyle Alexander and sent John Smoltz to Atlanta. They got into the 1987 playoffs, but it was 19 years before they were in the playoffs again, and Atlanta got a HOF pitcher.

  18. Think this guy should stick to hockey analytics because the trade he suggested isn’t going to happen. From a Red Wings’ perspective, it makes no sense. They get a pending UFA in Franson and a totally incompatible player like Kessel? One of the big reasons why the Red Wings have been able to remain relevant and a contender isn’t just their excellent scouting/drafting/overall management, it’s the tireless work ethic demanded by the organization and spearheaded by Babcock. I’m sure the book is out on Kessel in regards to his indifference when it comes to hard work, a team concept and commitment. I’d CRINGE if I were a Red Wing player and I wanted to skate off first after practice.
    Both Mantha and Pulkkinen project as top-six wingers, Kindl has already made a solid transition and Ouellet looks to be a top-four defender. Lashoff seems to be a depth guy, but he has good size and knowing the Red Wings, he’ll serve some kind of useful role with the team. AND a first-rounder…???
    A package like that is absolutely insane. Kessel is a consistent 30-goal guy, but the Red Wings aren’t about to mortgage their ongoing outstanding farm system for a 30-goal winger who clearly has issues with fitness and a poor commitment to hard work.
    It would still take Nylander and Rielly to even come close to making this more of a level-headed trade idea and even then, the Red Wings are sacrificing too much. I don’t think some people realize the utterly awful position the Leafs are in and will be in for some time. They will not be dealing from a position of power in trying to deal their big-contract guys. The word is out that the Leafs will be rebuilding and the vultures have begun circling. The Red Wings are too smart of an organization to make a foolish transaction like this that benefits the Leafs immeasurably and leaves Detroit with one guaranteed roster player from the deal after July 1st and a wealth of excellent prospects in Toronto.

    • “Contender”? When? Red Wings have not been a contender in years. Contenders get past the 2nd round. Detroit has not been past the 2nd round in a while. Kessel and Franson, in my estimation, would make Detroit a contender. Mantha and Pulkkinen *might* be stars, Kessel, despite what you think, is. Then it’s Ouellet and a 1st for Franson, because Kindl and Lashoff are throw-in’s. That part of the trade is iffy, only because of the 1st, and I do like Oulette. Make it a 2nd, I would feel better about it. All that being said, I’m still up in the air as to whether I pull the trigger, only because I’m really sold on Mantha. Pulkkinen, not so much.
      So again, We are dealing with players who *might* be able to play at this level some day vs players who we know can. “Potential” vs known commodities. It’s always a roll of the dice, but that’s what the trade deadline is all about. Pittsburgh can tell you some of the cons, L.A. can tell you some of the pros.

      But don’t worry, it will never happen. Because if I’m up in the air about it, then you can bet Holland would already be “kicking tires” elsewhere.

      • The Red Wings are a contender EVERY YEAR. How many consecutive seasons have they made the playoffs…? They’re currently 8th-overall in the league and 3rd-overall in the East – pretty good for an older core. The Pens have had troubles getting past certain opponents, yet no one seems to count them out.

        Kessel is a “star” when he decides to apply himself which isn’t very often. He has a truly shitty attitude and wouldn’t fit in with the Red Wings’ model anyway – he wouldn’t mesh at ALL with Babcock as coach or with hard-working, professional teammates.

        Believe me, I don’t worry about a “trade” like this in any sense because it would never happen and everyone else here seems to realize that too. Kessel’s value is a lot less than some of his apologists think. Teams don’t want an immature, me-first, uncommitted player who isn’t willing to put in the work necessary to improve.

        • Your definition of “contender” must be very different from mine. To me, a contender is a favorite. Detroit most certainly was NOT a “contender” last season, and as a non-contender, they were promptly destroyed in the first round by Boston. Did YOU think they were a contender last season? If so, please excuse yourself from further discussions about hockey. The only reason Detroit even made the playoffs last season was because Toronto imploded.
          Making the playoffs and being considered a “contender” are two different things. Yes, every team that makes the playoffs has a chance, and sometimes a team that was not considered a “contender” going in surprises you, like L.A in 2012 & 2014 (and they made significant acquisitions both seasons), but it’s not often that a team that is not considered a contender going into the playoffs ends up winning the Cup. And the last time Detroit was considered a legit contender (and the favorite) going into the playoffs was 2009. Will they be considered a contender this season? Maybe, but I still think they are a trade or two away from being legit.

          And all this bs about Kessel’s attitude is so overblown it’s not worth arguing about.

          Again, I would be up in the air over this deal, but I don’t think it is as ridiculous as you want to make it out to be.

  19. Why does every internet fan (FAN, not writer, which you people are) think they have to give up two dozen players/prospects and picks for one or two players? Fucking crackpot, no-nothing-about-hockey trade bullshit right here.


    • Because that’s how trades work. You expect Toronto to do a straight-up trade of Kessel for Mantha or Pulkkinen? Kessel is an established elite player. Mantha and Pulkkinen have the ability to be that good, but they may never make it to that level.

      • No, but in what universe do the Red Wings deal their two best offensive forward prospects for a carefree, indifferent guy like Kessel? The Red Wings have become prominent as a team willing to provide controversial NHLers a second chance (Bertuzzi, Tootoo, Cleary), but Kessel’s contract is massive – it’s not like Holland would be taking a flyer on a guy whose career is up in the air for one year at $1 million.

        • There isn’t any controversy regarding Kessel. He’s a really good player who has been beaten down by the constant scrutiny of the Toronto media. If he was in any other city, none of these “indifferent” stories would pop up because every single shift is scrutinized under a microscope when you play for the Maple Leafs.

          His contract isn’t ideal, but he’s an elite player.

          • There’s nothing BUT controversy surrounding Kessel. Stop blaming the media and making excuses. He consistently doesn’t prepare for the season in terms of his conditioning. He’s consistently the last one on the ice and the first one off – Michael Traikos of the National Post wrote an article based on Kessel’s indifference to improving earlier this week.

            A former coach and a current coach have publicly stated that he is difficult, doesn’t commit and refuses to “buy in” to guidance from the coaching staff. Refuses to address the media (when it’s a contracted stipulation).

            If the media is the problem, then how come players having very poor seasons like JVR, Gardiner and Clarkson aren’t at the forefront nearly as much as Kessel?

            Phil Kessel is responsible for Phil Kessel. The media isn’t demonizing him – he chooses when he wants to try and refuses to take any accountability for his inconsistent play or the demise of the Leafs. The media is the media. Blaming them for Kessel’s shitty attitude and laziness to evolve his game is a complete cop-out.

  20. That trade isn’t worth it.. It would give us a chance to win the cup now or next year. However – when Datsyuk and Zetterberg leave we will be left with Kessel, and missing three of our best prospects..

    I’m looking forward to a team with Nyquist, Tatar, Matha and Larki

    • It was tough for me too, but the Red Wings do have some great forward prospects in Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Nosek, Marek Tvrdon, Tyler Bertuzzi and Larkin like you said.

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