Is Phil Kessel as good as gone? It certainly would appear that way.
According to The Boston Globe, it is rumored that the Maple Leafs have sweetened their offer for the Bruins star forward to two first-round picks and a second-round pick. A source told the Globe that the report is "partially true," adding that the Leafs are looking for a third-rounder in addition to Kessel.
The Globe also indicates that the drama is not expected to extend much further, as Kessel will not be permitted to play in the NHL this season unless he signs a deal by Dec. 1. Plus, Toronto is getting more aggressive as the start of the 2009-10 season approaches, indicating that all of the discussions could be coming to a head. Also worth considering is the fact that Kessel is keen on the idea of playing in Toronto, which could mean that the Bruins will try to hammer out a deal and move on.
Of course, the general managers in both camps are keeping mum on any proceedings, as they have throughout the entire offseason. But all indications point to a deal getting done as soon as the Bruins get an offer they're comfortable with.
In 70 games with Boston in 2008-09, Kessel led the Bruins in goals with 36 and added 24 assists for 60 points and a plus-23 rating. He underwent shoulder surgery this offseason.
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