Are the Florida Panthers pursuing Toronto’s Phil Kessel? Are the Bruins shopping Loui Eriksson, Dennis Seidenberg, Zdeno Chara or Malcolm Subban? 

Kessel to the Panthers? Not so fast…

Panthers not pursuing Phil Kessel.

Panthers not pursuing Phil Kessel.

SPORTSNET/SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon addressed recent speculation his club had interest in Toronto Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel. Tallon said he thinks he’ll stay the course of rebuilding with his young talent, espousing his club’s “brilliant future” while noting the Panthers remain in the playoff hunt this season.

Tallon said he doesn’t see his club doing anything silly to jeopardize their future, adding “It is going to have to make sense for us short term and long term. We’re not going to just band-aid it to see if we can make a run of it.” Tallon admits his club could use a goalscorer but said he’s not yet willing to part with the young assets he’s accumulated. He feels such a move won’t happen until the offseason. Tallon’s current priority is to offload unhappy forward Sean Bergenheim, who’s requested a trade and as many as five clubs could have interest in him.

TSN.CA: Bob McKenzie reports Tallon and Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis haven’t had a specific conversation about Kessel. McKenzie believes under the right circumstances the Panthers might be interested in a player like Kessel but a move like that could happen in the summer. He also notes Tallon is very protective of his young assets like Nick Bjugstad, Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau. McKenzie believes the Leafs would want one of those players as part of a return for Kessel. McKenzie also doesn’t see it very likely Kessel or Dion Phaneuf will be dealt by the deadline, while Tyler Bozak moving at the deadline is no better than 50-50.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The “Kessel to Florida” chatter certainly stirred up some excitement for a few hours yesterday. I don’t rule out the possibility of Kessel landing with the Panthers, but I agree with McKenzie a move like that doesn’t get done until the offseason. Even then, the Leafs will likely try to stoke up a bidding war among interested clubs this summer. Tallon could be among the suitors, but he truly is protective of his young assets. He’s reportedly willing to move some of his defense prospects, but obviously a guy like Aaron Ekblad isn’t going anywhere, and he could be unwilling to part with rugged Erik Gudbranson. If Tallon won’t give up one of his good young roster players as part of a return for Kessel, that deal won’t happen.

Latest Bruins rumors.

SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos reports the Boston Bruins are open to moving defenseman Dennis Seidenberg and winger Loui Eriksson by the March trade deadline. They don’t have much cap space for next season and must re-sign Reilly Smith, Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug. Kypreos claims the Bruins want to add a center to alleviate some of the pressure on top-line left wing Milan Lucic.

CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty responded to Kypreos’ report, suggesting it could be difficult to move Seidenberg’s contract ($4 million annually over the next three seasons) given how slow he’s looked since coming off major knee surgery last season. He feels Eriksson, with one year remaining at $4.25 million, is tradeable. He also speculates a deal for both a winger and a top-four defenseman could be in the works given the cap numbers they’re trying to dump.

EDMONTON JOURNAL:  Jim Matheson wonders if the Bruins could try to reload by shopping team captain Zdeno Chara. He suggests the Anaheim Ducks as a trade target, citing their depth in prospects.

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports a Bruins source told him they have no interest in trading promising goaltender Malcolm Subban. The young netminder was the subject of speculation his upcoming start against Edmonton was possibly a showcase for a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting stuff about moving Seidenberg and Eriksson. While it doesn’t sound like the Bruins are throwing in the towel on the season (especially if they’re seeking a blueliner and a top-six forward in return), it does indicate how their limited cap space is hurting their attempts to improve their play this season and could hurt efforts to re-sign key young players in the offseason.

I agree with Haggerty that Seidenberg could be difficult to move this season because of how much he’s slowed. Eriksson could interest clubs seeking short-term forward depth but I doubt he has the value on his own to land a quality return which helps the Bruins now and in the future. I don’t see the Bruins moving Chara by the deadline. If that move is to be considered, it happens in the offseason. I think GM Peter Chiarelli has considerable loyalty toward Chara and is reluctant to move him. Subban’s not moving.