Report says Preds in hunt for Kessel

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA is reporting that the Maple Leafs and Nashville Predators might begin a bidding war for Phil Kessel.

While the Leafs reportedly remain the front-runners for Kessel’s services, is reporting that the Preds have joined in the bidding and have offered a package the Boston Bruins like just as much.

The Leafs’ reportedly offered two first-round picks, another draft pick and a prospect. According to the source, the Predators have offered a first-round pick, the rights to forward Alexander Radulov (who is playing in the KHL in Russia) and a top defensive prospect.

Leafs general manager Brian Burke also is believed to be contemplating an offersheet to Kessel if the Bruins don’t accept an offer this weekend. If that happens, the Bruins would be in the precarious position of having to trade players to clear cap space and match the offer — they are on the record as saying they will do this if the offer is within reason.