Phil Kessel, Bruins Trade Buzz

Last Friday, the Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle reported Leafs GM Dave Nonis wasn’t shopping Kessel, but it’s believed he’s willing to listen to offers.

Mirtle also noted Kessel’s contract expires July 2014, making him an unrestricted free agent. Nonis can open contract extension talks this July, but Kessel’s agent, Wade Arnott, said his client’s focus is currently on this season.

The Toronto Sun’s Mike Zeisberger also weighed in on Kessel’s status, citing a recent online poll in which half the respondents believe the winger should be dealt.

If Kessel were to be traded, Zeisberger doubts it would happen this season, believing a better return could be had by waiting until either this summer or next season’s trade deadline. He feels Nonis would have to be bowled over by an offer to move the 25-year-old now.

Kessel also seems to have regained his scoring touch, collecting six points in his last three games, including his first two goals of the season. The Leafs also won those games and entered this week sitting fifth overall in the Eastern Conference.

Given the Maple Leafs current playoff drought, patience is understandably thin among the denizens of Leafs Nation, which explains the recent calls to trade Kessel.

For more on this story visit: Lyle Richardson, The Hockey News