The Phil Kessel saga has been picking up speed in recent weeks, but the rumors, wishful thinking, and negotiations appear to be coming to a screeching halt.
According to several sources, the Bruins are reportedly going to trade Kessel to one of four teams — Toronto, Nashville, New York (Rangers) or Minnesota — before the end of next week.
"We're obviously at an impasse," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald.
“I don’t discuss negotiations specifically, but some things are obvious when the player is not in camp and nothing is happening,” Chiarelli added. “Generally speaking, you want to keep young players who have skill. You want to keep these players. Unfortunately, there are a lot of different factors going on here, and due to those factors, the player hasn’t come to agreement with us.”
Based on numerous reports, the most likely destination for the sniper is Toronto. Earlier this week, Kessel's agent Wade Arnott was spotted at Toronto's practice facility, speaking with Leafs senior vice president Dave Nonis.
Toronto is reportedly set on dishing out the goods for last season's 36-goal scorer. General manager Brian Burke has been rumored to offer as much as two first-rounders and a second-rounder, plus perhaps a player for the 21-year-old.
"We know we would like this player … We'll see what happens," Burke told the Toronto Sun recently. "It's not inevitable. The options are that Boston can match any offer sheet. Boston can trade him (elsewhere) or trade him to us. There are lots of possibilities. It's not a done deal by any means."
Nashville isn't too far behind the Maple Leafs. Predators general manager David Poile has offered a combination of draft picks and prospects to Boston for the forward, according to the Tennessean.
"I certainly believe in being aggressive and persistent and going after what I want. But I've made it clear what we can do,'' Poile said. "It's fairly apparent what other teams are doing. If (Chiarelli) gets two firsts and a second, he's getting really good compensation but it is all in the eye of the beholder for a 21-year-old player who scored 36 goals.''
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