Brian Burke said the decision to trade for Phil Kessel was made mostly as a business decision to give Toronto Maple Leafs fans a new star player to cheer for and buy tickets to go see.
“The Phil Kessel acquisition was in large part because I thought we had some ticket price fatigue,” Burke said in wide-ranging interview with Bob McCown on Prime Time Sports Monday. “If we’re not going to win, let’s at least have a star player with what we charge for tickets.”
The Maple Leafs, with Burke as GM, acquired Kessel from the Boston Bruins for two first-round picks and a second-round pick. But due to poor performances, those ended up being high picks which the Bruins used to draft star OHL players Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton and Jared Knight.
As is common with the Maple Leafs, Burke was criticized heavily by fans and the media for the trade, even though Kessel scored over 30 goals in six of his eight seasons with the Leafs.
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