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Rumblings: Leafs listening on Kessel, working on signing Bernier

Phil Kessel could be on his way out of Toronto around the draft. Steve Russell/Toronto Star/Getty Images

Phil Kessel's name will be bandied about as much as anyone's in the next week, in part because any trade the Toronto Maple Leafs make would preferably land them a pick or two in next week’s draft. Not necessarily, but preferably.

Two hockey executives from rival teams said that over the past several weeks the Leafs have a price for Kessel that is way, way too high. So the executives are staying away until it comes down. Can’t blame Toronto for starting high. Why wouldn’t you?

"They’re going to have to eat more of his salary than they think right now," said one of the rival executives.

Kessel’s partial no-trade clause lists eight teams he’s allowed to be dealt to, and my TSN colleague Bob McKenzie reported those to be: Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Now, if a team outside that list made a good offer and Kessel was intrigued, that could also trigger a deal.

Also of note, players with partial no-trade clauses have their agents resubmit their lists before July 1 every year. Sometimes the list stays the same, but I believe Kessel’s new list has already been submitted and might have been tweaked slightly in terms of how it’s going look starting July 1.

Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs filed for club-elected salary arbitration with goalie Jonathan Bernier before Wednesday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline, a source told ESPN.com.

The Leafs were the only club in the league to file. It seems strange to me why more teams don’t do it. It’s a good tool in the CBA that ensures a team will get its RFA signed, one way or another, and in camp with a new contract.

Bernier and his agent, Pat Brisson, have no problem with the Leafs' filing; it's all part of the business and, in fact, Brisson and the Leafs’ front office continue to have good dialogue about a new contract, which would make the arbitration filing a moot point.

My sense is both sides are looking at a two- or three-year contract.