Leafs trade for rights to Kessel

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:34 PM ET

PITTSBURGH -- The Maple Leafs finally have a new leading scorer on delivery, a pricey purchase that took GM Brian Burke months to complete.

The pursuit of high-scoring Bruins forward Phil Kessel reached fruition late last night, receiving league approval late in the third period of a pre-season game against the Penguins.

Burke was working his Blackberry feverishly in the press box at the Mellon Arena.

The GM refused to announce the details of the trade before it got the NHL stamp, but earlier in the night acknowledged that it was well on its way to be consummated.

Burke had reason to be cautious early on considering an apparent deal for the 21-year-old restricted free agent fell through in June.

However, a source familiar with the negotiations said it is a done deal, one that will be widely discussed by Leafs fans today given the lofty sticker price.

The Leafs will have to surrender a first and second-round pick in 2010 and another first-rounder in 2011. To make the deal complete, two sources said, the Leafs also have agreed to a five-year deal with Kessel that will pay him $27 million US over the duration of the contract.

The money is one thing -- the Leafs have cap room -- but Burke is giving up plenty in the commodity he so treasures, future draft picks.

With 36 goals for the Bruins this past season, Kessel easily moves to the front of the food line of the Leafs offence that struggled so much last season. Jason Blake led the team with 25 goals.

ROB.LONGLEY@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos