Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
I don’t doubt the Nashville Predators have significant interest in Boston Bruins’ restricted free agent Phil Kessel.
And I don’t doubt, all things being equal, Boston would rather move Kessel to Nashville and the Western Conference than to the division rival Toronto Maple Leafs.
But here’s why Nashville, regardless of what it offers Boston, is at a serious disadvantage in the Kessel sweepstakes.
Kessel, it appears, wants to play in Toronto, not Nashville. And as long as that remains the case, Nashville can’t trade for him.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Some won’t believe he’ll ever be comfortable in his own skin, which by itself raises the issue of how will he handle the boondoggle that is Toronto hockey. You can’t hide in Toronto. Some players love that. Some get eaten up by it.
When I spoke to Kessel at the USA Olympic camp, he did seem more grown up. He did make eye contact. He didn’t look at his shoes the way he had in previous conversations.
He will be traded before his Oct. 2 birthday because the Bruins must be under the salary cap by the start of the season. They may even do better in a trade than they would have had someone signed an offer sheet for Kessel.
Kessel will be paid somewhere above $4.5 million US a year, which would entitle the Bruins to a first-, second- and third-round draft pick. The Leafs will pay that much for him, probably more.
added 9:13am, via John Glennon of the Tennessean,
The Predators have offered a combination of draft picks and prospects to Boston for forward Phil Kessel, General Manager David Poile said Wednesday.
“I certainly believe in being aggressive and persistent and going after what I want. But I’ve made it clear what we can do,’’ Poile said. “It’s fairly apparent what other teams are doing.’‘
There have been reports saying Toronto is willing to give up two first-round draft picks and a second-rounder for Kessel.
“If (Chiarelli) gets two firsts and a second, he’s getting really good compensation,’’ Poile said. “But it is all in the eye of the beholder for a 21-year-old player who scored 36 goals.’‘
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports,
It’s been reported that Toronto is offering two first-round picks and a third-rounder for Kessel.
One source said that offer is now the two first-rounders, a second-rounder and a player – although Burke denied that by e-mail Tuesday night.
As for the player, I can’t get confirmation, so I’m not going to guess.
At least one other team isn’t giving up hope.
It’s been a four days since Nashville’s David Poile admitted his interest. Since then, he hasn’t spoken to his Boston counterpart.
“Nothing is happening ... I don’t know where it stands,” the Predators GM said Tuesday afternoon.
“But we’re interested. Who wouldn’t be?”
from Chad Finn of the Bruins Blog,
Fred Cusick, the popular play-by-play voice for the Bruins for more than 40 years, has died, his family confirmed to the Globe this afternoon. He was 90 years old.
Cusick, who is scheduled to be inducted to the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame tomorrow night, was a signature voice of the Bruins during their 1970s heyday.
His simple trademark call of “Score!” whenever Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Cam Neely and countless other Bruins put the puck in the net served as familiar punctuation on their goals.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
For the moment, and possibly well on into November, Kessel holds the cards as a restricted free agent. If Chiarelli were to make a deal with, say, the Predators, Nashville GM David Poile would only give up assets if he is assured Kessel will sign in Tune Town. Likewise, the Leafs won’t flip picks and/or players Boston’s way unless Chiarelli already has inked Kessel to a sign-and-trade.
All signs point to Kessel preferring the Leafs over the Predators, which, if nothing else, proves he did learn something during his year at the University of Minnesota. Decent team, the Preds, but there is only one Toronto (unless Jim Balsillie succeeds in divvying up the hockey mecca).
The dynamic of the Kessel proceedings will shift as late November approaches because Kessel, per the collective bargaining agreement, cannot play in the NHL this season unless he has signed a deal by Dec. 1.
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
So it would only make sense that Nashville would have an interest in Boston forward Phil Kessel.
Predators General Manager David Poile confirmed as much on Friday, saying he’s talked with Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and Kessel’s agent, Wade Arnott, in recent days.
“He’s a young player that scores goals,’’ Poile said, “and that’s very much of interest to us.’‘
added 1:12pm, via Darren Dreger’s Twitter,
Two horse race for Heatley. San Jose and Chicago.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
It’s time to bust the budget for Phil Kessel….
No one’s saying that Kessel is all that separates the Preds from a lengthy playoff run. Far from it. At 21, he remains a work in progress, both on and off the ice. He’s far too predictable when carrying the puck, and far too soft away from it. He requires the kid glove treatment from his coach and a centerman capable of creating his play for him. Bottom line: he’s still got a lot to learn.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
While the option of signing Kessel to an offer sheet remains for the Leafs and the other teams in the mix, the morely likely scenario is a trade.
Sources say the trade offers for the 21-year-old winger are in excess of what the Bruins would receive as compensation if Kessel were to sign an offer sheet. In other words, Boston is contemplating a trade that will return a more impressive package than the compensatory one that includes a first, a second and third-round draft picks.
The Leafs, New York Rangers and the Nashville Predators are the three most aggressive bidders, but at least two other teams are also believed to be in the hunt.
At this point there is nothing imminent, but Kessel’s future is a hot topic in Boston.
from Damian Cox of the Toronto Star,
It’s believed he wants to join the Leafs and he’s already familiar with Burke and head coach Ron Wilson through his association with the U.S. Olympic program.
But the fact he doesn’t want to play for the Bruins doesn’t necessarily make it any easier for the Leafs to get their mitts on him.
For starters, the B’s can match any free agent offer sheet for Kessel, something Chiarelli has said he would do. The Bruins’ GM is apparently no longer crazy about dealing Kessel inside the Northeast Division, and Kaberle can no longer be included in any trade proposal now that his no-trade clause has kicked in again.
Burke and Chiarelli have held trade talks and it’s believed the Leafs are willing to pay more for Kessel than the compensation required if he were signed to an offer sheet. If a contract offer came between $3.9 million and $5.2 million per season, the Bruins would receive first-, second- and third-round draft picks as compensation.
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