From ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ price for Phil Kessel:
Two hockey executives from rival teams said that over the past several weeks the Leafs have a price for Kessel that is way, way too high. So the executives are staying away until it comes down. Can’t blame Toronto for starting high. Why wouldn’t you?
“They’re going to have to eat more of his salary than they think right now,” said one of the rival executives.
We wrote earlier in the week about Kessel’s reported no-trade list, and whether he could effectively block Toronto from dealing him.
The salary-retention angle is an interesting one as well. Kessel is signed through 2021-22 for a cap hit of $8 million. The Leafs would obviously prefer to cut ties completely, as opposed to having a portion of a former player’s cap hit on the books for seven seasons. If there’s a bad contract they could take back to grease the wheels (one that doesn’t have so many years remaining), that would likely be their preferred route.