Numerous media reports, including one from Bob McKenzie of TSN.ca, are pointing out that the Toronto Maple Leafs’ acquisition of their own 2010 second-round pick from Chicago in exchange for a couple 2011 draft picks make it a possibility that they’ll pursue Boston Bruins restricted free agent winger Phil Kessel via an offer sheet.
The trade gives the Leafs the necessary compensation should the Bruins choose not to match the offer — although Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said numerous times he would match to retain Kessel’s services.
Kevin Paul Dupton of the Boston Globe got Leafs general manager Brian Burke to (sort of) go on the record.
“I’ve got nothing to say about any of it,’’ Burke told Dupont. “Sorry, I’m just not going to go there.’’
The Leafs, who remade their defense this summer with the addition of Mike Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin, desperately need to add offensive firepower to their front line. They actively pursued Kessel via a trade with Boston at the 2009 NHL Draft in Montreal, but that deal fell through due to a miscommunication. However, I wouldn’t rule out that the Leafs would also consider an offer sheet to New York Rangers restricted free agent Brandon Dubinsky. The extra draft pick could be also a bargaining chip in any trade Burke might be working on.