Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun reported that an unnamed NHL scout claimed Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke was “testing the waters” to see if there was any interest in struggling winger Phil Kessel.
Burke vehemently denied shopping his troubled scorer, but given Kessel's streaky performance the past two seasons, combined with his $5.4 million cap hit (for three more seasons), Burke probably wouldn't find many takers even if he were floating the winger's name - and certainly not at this point in the season.
Remember, the Boston Bruins had to be creative to shed salary to take on defenseman Tomas Kaberle, who is a free agent at season's end. It would be much tougher to find a fit for Kessel's contract.
SEMIN ON THE TRADE BLOCK?
Stevenson also reported unnamed scouts who said Washington Capitals GM George McPhee “has been dangling” winger Alexander Semin in hopes of landing a return to help his team.
That seems unlikely, however, since the team only weeks ago re-signed Semin to a one-year, $6.7 million contract extension.
If teams were leery about taking on the streaky scoring winger when he was earning $6 million for this season, it's doubtful they'll take him on with a higher price tag next year.
'BOGO' NO GO
With notable defensemen such as Tomas Kaberle, Francois Beauchemin, Eric Brewer and Erik Johnson now unavailable, the market for quality blueliners has thinned considerably leading up to the trade deadline.
That's heightened expectations the struggling Atlanta Thrashers will shop promising youngster Zach Bogosianto bolster their offensive depth. According to Thrashers GM Rick Dudley, however, he's not shopping Bogosian nor does he expect to.
Bogosian isn't an untouchable and if someone offered Dudley a quality first line scoring forward he might seriously consider it. Having recently acquired winger Blake Wheeler from Boston, however, Dudley might not feel as much pressure to add more depth to his forward lines, let alone sacrifice a promising young defenseman for a quick fix. Continued