<
>

Rumblings: Phil Kessel owed $4 million bonus on July 1

Steve Russell/Toronto Star/Getty Images

Two sources confirmed to ESPN.com on Tuesday that Phil Kessel has a $4 million signing bonus, payable Wednesday. You have to imagine that while the Toronto Maple Leafs would have loved to have traded him before that money was paid, they also know the best trade offer for him most likely will come after they pay that bonus.

Food for thought: A source also told ESPN.com that the Calgary Flames kicked the tires on a Kessel deal last week at the draft. But in those talks, the Leafs were not willing to retain any of Kessel's $8 million salary, although they were willing to take on player(s) from Calgary to alleviate the money, the source said.

I’m willing to be proven wrong, but I just can’t believe the Leafs will ever be successful in moving Kessel unless they retain at least some of his salary.