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Kessel’s agent says he’d love to finish his career as a Leaf … Pens cap space … Iginla’s ‘fire’ gets questioned

  • Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star: Phil Kessel’s agent, Wade Arnott, thinks that Kessel would like to finish his career in Toronto.

    “Phil (Kessel) is still a really young man,” Arnott told the SportsNet Fan590. “He really enjoys living in Toronto and playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    “This young man lives and breathes hockey. He was very excited to come here four years ago. I think if you asked Phil today, he’d love to finish his career here in Toronto. But it’s still young in his career right now.”

    The Leafs are not able to negotiate with Kessel until July 1st. Some have suggested the Maple Leafs should trade him. The Leafs have $47 million committed to 13 players next season. UFAs include: Tyler Bozak, Clarke MacArthur, Mike Kostka, Colton Orr and David Steckel. RFAs include: Nazem Kadri, Frazer McLaren, Carl Gunnarsson, Cody Franson and Mark Fraser.

  • Jesse Spector via twitter: Spector is just noting that the Penguins have more than $8 million in salary cap space and there might be a “fiery right wing” who could be a good fit.
  • Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun: Jarome Iginla’s former teammate, Rhett Warrener questions Iginla’s fire this year and thinks he should be traded:

    “His greatest asset was his shot but more importantly his compete-level — his refuse-to-lose attitude — and now you are watching and … it’s not there,” said Warrener on his Sportsnet FAN960 morning show Tuesday, a day after a Flames shootout loss that saw Iginla turn the puck over for the Minnesota Wild’s only regulation goal.

    “He’s not Dany Heatley-slow, but he’s not getting there. I don’t know if he’s slowed down and his compete-level has followed, but you don’t see that compete and fire in his eye now. I think you see frustration setting in.

    “As a captain, he’s not a rah-rah guy or ‘let’s talk it out’ — it’s ‘Watch me, and hop on my back, and follow me.’ I haven’t seen that at all this year.”

    Warrener thinks the Flames have to trade Iginla.

    “It’s a contract year, and people have to look at this and ask what the plan is going forward — if you don’t trade him, then what’s Jarome willing to accept to stay here?” asked Warrener after his show.

    “Does he want $7.5 million? Because I don’t think they can pay him that. My opinion is he can’t be a shut-down player. Even if he takes $4 million, where are you playing him? He wants to be a top scorer, and that’s what’s driven him. Maybe I’m out to lunch, but I don’t believe he’d want to spend his last years here as a checker.”