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Phil Kessel trade central to ex-GM Brian Burke's Toronto downfall

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff  January 9, 2013 02:09 PM

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have fired general manager Brian Burke. Dave Nonis, a University of Maine graduate, will assume the helm. Burke will serve as senior adviser, which is the same title bestowed to former Bruins GM Harry Sinden when Peter Chiarelli replaced interim GM Jeff Gorton in 2006.

Burke and Chiarelli were trading partners twice since 2008. On Sept. 18, 2009, the Bruins traded Phil Kessel to Toronto for draft picks that brought back Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton, and Jared Knight. On Feb. 18, 2011, the Bruins acquired Tomas Kaberle from Toronto for Joe Colborne, a 2011 first-round pick, and a 2012 second-rounder.

Kessel led the Leafs last season with 37 goals and 45 assists in 82 games. However, given the bounty the Bruins received in return, Chiarelli projects to be the winner of the trade. Seguin has the skills to be one of the NHL’s 10 best forwards. Hamilton has the potential to be a top-pairing defenseman. Knight has been sidelined with a hamstring injury as a first-year pro, but could become a second- or third-line NHL wing.

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