Speculation that the Toronto Maple Leafs are close to acquiring 36-goal scorer Phil Kessel ratcheted up significantly yesterday when the agent for the speedy Boston Bruins forward showed up at Leafs training camp.
But it turned out that Wade Arnott was only at the MasterCard Centre because his son's team had a practice at one of the other ice pads in the building. Still, Arnott exchanged greetings with Leafs senior vice-president David Nonis.
According to sources, Leafs general manager Brian Burke has exchanged numerous proposals with Bruins counterpart Peter Chiarelli in the hopes of a Kessel trade. It is believed that one of the offers included two first-round draft picks and a second-rounder as reported by espn.com on Saturday, but there was speculation the Bruins would rather have players in return for Kessel.
Burke would not comment on the espn.com report yesterday.
The Leafs are one of three clubs in pursuit of Kessel, a restricted free agent who has been at an impasse on contract talks. The New York Rangers and Nashville Predators also have strong interest, but according to sources, Kessel wants to play in Toronto for Burke and coach Ron Wilson. Kessel is a candidate for the 2010 U.S. Olympic team, which is run by Burke and Wilson.