Teams reaching out to Maple Leafs about Kessel

George Stroumboulopoulos and Elliotte Friedman discuss all the top headlines from around the NHL including the report that teams are enquiring about the availability of Toronto Maple Leafs sniper Phil Kessel.

The Phil Kessel trade talks are about to ramp up.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, a handful of teams have inquired with the Toronto Maple Leafs regarding their asking price for Kessel.

The future of the Maple Leafs star forward was a popular topic among NHL executives at this weekend’s NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo, but Friedman reported that if a trade was going to be consummated, it would not happen for at least a couple of weeks.

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Kessel is expected to be on the trading block this summer as the Maple Leafs could be active in order to get younger and stockpile draft picks and prospects as part of their rebuilding process.

The 27-year-old American has seven years remaining on his contract that carries a salary cap hit of $8 million per season.

Kessel, who has exceeded the 30-goal mark in four of the last six seasons, registered 25 goals, 36 assists with a minus-34 rating in 82 games for Toronto this past season.

He has spent the last six years with the Maple Leafs, only making one post-season appearance after the club paid a steep price to acquire him in a 2009 trade with the Boston Bruins.