Bidding war starts around Kessel?

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:37 PM ET

NESN.com is reporting that the Maple Leafs and Nashville Predators might begin a bidding war for Phil Kessel.

While the Leafs reportedly remain the front-runners for Kessel’s services, NESN.com is reporting that the Preds have joined in the bidding and have offered a package the Boston Bruins like just as much.

The Leafs’ reportedly offered two first-round picks, another draft pick and a prospect. According to the NESN.com source, the Predators have offered a first-round pick, the rights to forward Alexander Radulov (who is playing in the KHL in Russia) and a top defensive prospect.

Leafs general manager Brian Burke also is believed to be contemplating an offersheet to Kessel if the Bruins don’t accept an offer this weekend. If that happens, the Bruins would be in the precarious position of having to trade players to clear cap space and match the offer — they are on the record as saying they will do this if the offer is within reason.

Briefly

The Leafs have now played two pre-season games and a number of veterans have yet to see any action, including forwards Matt Stajan, Jason Blake and Jamal Mayers, along with defenceman, and London native, Mike Van Ryn, who is expected to play next week. Van Ryn is not fully recovering from a minor knee procedure conducted a couple of months ago ... Rookie goaltender Jonas Gustavsson has yet to dress in an exhibition game. Gustavsson, 24, experienced a racing heartbeat during a fitness test on Sunday and was rushed to a Toronto hospital. The Swedish goaltender underwent a cardiac ablation earlier in the week and head coach Ron Wilson said the Gustavsson should be ready to practice today.


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