Good news for any team looking to acquire Phil Kessel. According to St.Louis Blues beat writer Andy Strickland, the Leafs have told at least one team that they would retain $2 million of Kessel's salary in order to make a trade.
Toronto #mapleleafs have told at least one team they're willing to retain $2 million of Phil Kessel's salary— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) June 29, 2015
It's unclear which team the offer was made to, but we do know that a number of teams are interested in the 27-year-old, who has a cap hit of $8 million through 2022. Kessel was a 30 goal-scorer in 4 of his past 5 seasons in Toronto.
If Damien Cox is right, and the Pittsburgh Penguins are one of the frontrunners for Kessel, the extra $2 million that the Leafs would reportedly keep would do wonders for the club. Jim Ruthford has $11.57 million in cap space to play with, but as Greg Wyshynski pointed out, the Penguins only have 14 players signed thus far. The extra $2 million could mean two extra players for the Pens.
Brenden Shanahan told reporters that Kessel had earned more attention from other teams than any other player on the Leafs.
It won't be easy to move Kessel though. Steve Simmons wrote about the exact opposite of what Shanahan said, in that apparently the market for Kessel over the weekend was "thin and marginally active", citing the Leafs poor performance last season.
The city, and team have seem to made their decision, and Kessel will most likely be dealt to another team, the question becomes when, and where.
"There were some discussions initiated here down on the floor with teams that are still alive," Shanahan told the media about the potential Kessel deal. "[Those teams] were under no such, we were under no rush, so this was a good time for some initial contact to be made."