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Maple Leafs getting strong trade interest in Phil Kessel

Bill Wippert/NHLI/Getty Images

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Toronto Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel may be the most enticing piece of trade bait heading into this weekend's draft, and team president Brendan Shanahan confirmed that he has attracted significant interest from teams around the league.

Shanahan said that Kessel has garnered more attention from opposing general managers than any other player on the Leafs. Other Leafs reportedly being shopped are captain Dion Phaneuf and center Tyler Bozak.

"All I can say is that when you have a guy like that who's such a natural goal scorer in the prime of his career, everybody wants goal scoring," Shanahan said, holding court at the Leafs' hotel in Fort Lauderdale.

Whether the five-time 30-goal scorer will actually be dealt with the hockey world convened in South Florida for the draft remains to be seen. Shanahan made it clear that a decision to move him, or any other player for that matter, will not be a "knee-jerk reaction."

"We have time on our side," Shanahan said. "We don't feel that we need to do anything major to get something done on some self-imposed or outer-imposed deadline."

As for the vacant general manager position -- assistant Kyle Dubas is handling those duties for the time being -- Shanahan is still looking.

"The search is still ongoing," he said.

The Leafs are slated to pick fourth overall on Friday, and though several teams are reportedly being aggressive to move up to the third spot, it sounds as if Toronto is satisfied with where it will pick.

"We wouldn't say definitely that we wouldn't [trade up or trade down], but right now, we are expecting to pick fourth," he said.