Latest on Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, Jaromir Jagr, Jeff Petry and more. 

Could a trade to Florida put the smile back on Phil Kessel's face?

Could a trade to the Florida Panthers put the smile back on Phil Kessel’s face?

Panthers interested in Kessel.

NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford reports Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis admitted he’s had talks with several teams regarding Leafs winger Phil Kessel, though he pointed out expensive players like Kessel tend to move in the off-season, if at all. Halford cites Sun-Sentinel.com’s Harvey Fialkov noting Kessel has a summer home in Florida, going on to claim the Florida Panthers have interest in the Leafs winger but won’t give up a “young stud” to get him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel has a partial no-trade clause, but maybe he’d be willing to waive it to go to a market where he won’t be pestered so much by the media. The Panthers are stocked with young talent to tempt the Leafs, but they won’t part with Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad or Aleksander Barkov. Earlier this season, Panthers GM Dale Tallon suggested he was willing to part with some of his young blueline prospects for a scoring forward. Unless Tallon is willing to part with one of those good young forwards, however, I doubt there’s a fit there. 

Rumor rumblings from Pierre LeBrun.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports Carolina’s Andrej Sekera now tops the list of available defensemen in the trade rumor mill…With Cody Franson off the trade market, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry’s stock is rising. He’s a right-handed shot and several playoff-bound clubs seek that type of rearguard…Arizona’s Zbynek Michalek is also a right-handed shot and is a steady defensive blueliner…Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to bolster their bluelines. The Canadiens and Lightning aren’t interested in a rental deal though they could settle on that…The Penguins and Winnipeg Jets are on a long list of clubs with interest in Toronto Maple Leafs forward Daniel Winnik…Red Wings GM Ken Holland could have interest in a rental defenseman but LeBrun wonders if Holland could have interest in Dion Phaneuf provided the Leafs pick up part of his $7 million per season salary.

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: LeBrun appeared on TSN 1260 speculating the Oilers could seek a second-round pick and either a prospect or a young player for Jeff Petry. He believed Detroit and Tampa Bay could be interested in Petry.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt very much the Red Wings have serious interest in Phaneuf. That contract’s too big for a blueliner many believe is best served as a second-pairing defenseman, even if the Leafs pick up a chunk of his salary. He’s also a left-handed shot and the Wings are overloaded with them. Petry or perhaps Marek Zidlicky might be worthwhile as rental players, after which Holland can explore the market this summer for better options. 

Latest on the Sabres and Jaromir Jagr.

ESPN.COM: Katie Strang reports the Buffalo Sabres forwards Chris Stewart and Cody Hodgson could be in play approaching the March trade deadline.

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: TSN’s Darren Dreger considers Jaromir Jagr being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins “highly, highly unlikely.”