Afternoon Rumor Roundup – June 29, 2009

Kessel stays put for now

Oilers and Kings to swing a big deal?Kessel stays put for now

The Bruins had a deal in place Friday to ship right winger Phil Kessel, their high-scoring restricted free agent, to the Maple Leafs for veteran defenseman Tomas Kaberle, just the kind of skilled, minutes-crunching blue liner who could make Boston a bona fide contender to be an Eastern Conference playoff champion, maybe even a Stanley Cup champion, next spring.

But like many well-prepared meals, garnish and presentation are so often the key, and the Kessel-for-Kaberle deal crumbled because Toronto didn’t have as many trimmings on the plate as the Bruins initially believed.

According to sources on both sides of the deal who had first-hand knowledge of the negotiations, the Bruins arrived at the draft late Friday afternoon believing they were swapping Kessel, 21, for Kaberle, 31. The Bruins initially asked for Toronto’s top pick in this past weekend’s draft, No. 7 overall, to be included in the swap. But when Toronto general manager Brian Burke turned down that package, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli countered with Kessel and Boston’s top pick next June for Kaberle and the No. 7.

A swap of players. A swap of first-round picks. Deal done. Or so the Bruins believed. So much so, said one source, that they planned to select hard-rock winger Zack Kassian with the No. 7 pick.

Oilers and Kings to swing a big deal?

Meanwhile, 300 km up Highway 2, rumours persist that Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini is shopping one of his four offensive defenceman in an attempt to kickstart the rebuild in Edmonton.

We’re hearing Sheldon Souray to Los Angeles — where his children live with his ex-wife, a long distance relationship that Souray has found taxing through two seasons in Northern Alberta. The package coming back would include defenceman Jack Johnson, and we’re guessing a forward with some grit, like a Wayne Simmonds.