Dream on, Leafs fans

The Boston Bruins selected Plymouth Whalers forward Tyler Seguin as the No. 2 pick at the 2010 NHL...

The Boston Bruins selected Plymouth Whalers forward Tyler Seguin as the No. 2 pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in Los Angeles on Saturday, June 25, 2010. (DIDIER DEBUSSCHERE/QMI Agency)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:13 PM ET

Didnít Tyler Seguin look dreamy in his Boston Bruins sweater Friday night?

Thatís right, dream on Leafs Nation.

The start of a Hollywood story on the opening night of the NHL draft, perhaps? Or will it be a long-term nightmare for the Maple Leafs?

Even though you knew it was coming, if you have any emotional attachment with the Leafs, Fridayís opening picks of the 2010 entry draft had to sting.

Even though Phil Kessel may ultimately make you forget about it, itís still a shot to the gut for a team living with the indignity of missing the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.

Itís official now: The Bruins used the No. 2 overall pick that could have/should have belonged to the Leafs to select Seguin, a consensus canít miss forward from the Plymouth Whalers.

As it stands, the deal is Kessel for Seguin plus the Leafs second-round pick on Saturday and itís first-round pick next year. Will it get better or will it get worse?

As tempting as it was to pass judgment on the deal when it happened last fall and again Friday night as the Leafs management sat forlorn on the Staples Center floor, itís far too early to do so.

And what good would sports be if you couldnít have an argument like this one? Even though itís been going on for months, the great debate has really just begun.

No matter how many times Burke says he would do the deal again tomorrow, if Kessel is a bust and Seguin is a superstar this one will tail the big Irishman until the end of his NHL career.

If Kessel has multiple 40 or even 50-goal seasons, Burke will only add to his reputation of deal-making genius.

ďWe got the player we wanted,Ē Burke told TSN Friday night. ďI hope Boston got the player they wanted.Ē

Seguin is merely the first part of the grading process of the controversial deal and there will be plenty of scrutiny on that next season, assuming the prospect makes the Bruins roster.

As usual, the Bís and Leafs meet six times in the regular season, and as much as Kessel was a huge story each time they faced last season, heíll have company this season.

The second term grades will be based on what happens at next yearís draft when the Bruins once again get the Leafsí first-round pick.

Getting sick of Burke talking about his need to get better NOW? Get used to it. As much as Leafs management didnít believe there was any way the Bruins would be selecting No. 2 overall on Friday, they better make sure next yearís is outside the top 10.

No matter which way it goes, the Kessel deal will be one of the great talking points of the franchise for years and perhaps decades to come.

One of the big reasons is the beast that the NHL draft has grown into. The exercise has always been an important building tool, though not necessarily a priority in Burkeís methodology.

Lately though, the event is resembling the crazed appeal of the NFL version, complete with mock drafts and very public ďcombinesĒ where prospects are poked, prodded and over analyzed.

The NHL still has a way to go to match that craziness, but itís increased popularity only adds to the scrutiny on picks - both those selected and those traded away.

Not that Burke cares what the rest of the world thinks - nor should he - but the Leafs GM has yet to do anything to soothe the impatience of the disgruntled Leafs Nation this week.

So far he has also kept his word about resisting any urgency to deal Tomas Kaberle until he feels the price and the timing are right.

Burke hasnít been shy about sharing the fact that four teams have made offers for Kaberle but has also maintained that he isnít looking for a pick for the talented, puck-moving defenceman.

Itís still possible that a deal could be made over a post first-round beverage or sometime Saturday. The more likely option is waiting until after July 1 when teams that lose defencemen through free agency look to replenish their stock.

Replenishing through the draft? For the immediate future, the Leafs can only dream. And at least patience is more prudent than panic.

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca


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