Teams showing interest in Kessel

By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / September 3, 2009

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The Bruins, up against the salary-cap ceiling and faced with an uphill challenge to re-sign Phil Kessel, are speaking with several teams about trading the 21-year-old restricted free agent, according to a league source.

“More than one team is very interested,’’ said the source.

General manager Peter Chiarelli didn’t offer any insight on a possible trade.

“I don’t comment on contract negotiations,’’ said Chiarelli. “But we really would like to get Phil in the mix. You don’t come across players like this very often. It’s hard to come by players with this skill. We believe there’s still a lot of growth to his game.’’

Wade Arnott, Kessel’s agent, declined to comment on a possible destination for the 36-goal scorer. Arnott, however, confirmed a virtual nonexistence of negotiations with the Bruins. Arnott said the Bruins made only one contract offer, which was quickly rejected, prior to the draft.

The Bruins thought they had a deal in place at the draft with Toronto that would have landed Tomas Kaberle in Boston in a package for Kessel. But there had been a miscommunication between Chiarelli and Leafs counterpart Brian Burke.

Kessel is recovering from May 21 surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and labrum in his left shoulder. While Kessel will not be ready for the season opener, Arnott said he’s progressing well and could skate sometime next week.

There is a chance Kessel might not be fit to play until early December, so the Bruins don’t have to make a trade swiftly. However, teams would prefer to have their rosters - and corresponding cap situations - in place for camp. A trade could also take place once the season kicks off if the Bruins (or other clubs) start slowly and need Kessel’s offensive presence.

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