Kessel chatter around the NHL?

The Tomas Kaberle Trade Watch is (mercifully) over, but that doesn’t mean Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke is done.

One NHL scout said the Leafs have been testing the waters to see if there any takers for winger Phil Kessel.

“I was kind of surprised to hear his name as a possibility, but Kessel’s available,” the scout said.

A series of phone calls and e-mails from the Toronto Sun to other scouts and industry insiders did little to clear things up. One other NHL scout said he has also heard the Kessel talk but several others were unaware of anything of the sort.

In an e-mail to the Toronto Sun, Burke vehemently denied shopping his prized sniper.

In dealing Kris Versteeg and Kaberle, Burke has done a good job to recoup a couple of first-round picks for the 2011 entry draft after trading last year’s and this year’s first-rounders to the Boston Bruins in the Kessel deal.

The picks acquired from Philadelphia and Boston will be near the end of the first round, but at least now the Leafs scouts have something to do.

Unlike many of his comtemporaries, Burke seems to be ready to recognize when a player hasn’t worked out (Versteeg) and moves to fix the situation.

HEAR AND THERE

Don’t be surprised to see the Washington Capitals make a move soon. GM George McPhee (fondly — for now — known as GMGM in the District) has been working the phones, and scouts say he has been dangling forward Alexander Semin to improve his team … From the “Other Shoe” Department: The Colorado Avalanche traded goalie Craig Anderson to the Ottawa Senators Friday and word is they are looking at a guy like Jonathan Bernier of the Los Angeles Kings as a long-term solution in net.

THE BUZZ

With Kaberle having been dealt, another offensive defenceman who might be had is John-Michael Liles of the Avs, and he likely would command a first-round pick in return … There has been a lot of talk around underachieving Nashville Predators forward J.P. Dumont — especially with Canadiens scouts around the Preds — but the word out of Music City is Dumont won’t waive his no-trade to go back to Quebec, or anywhere else, apparently.

http://www.torontosun.com/sports/hockey/2011/02/18/17331801.html


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