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Welcome to NHL Draft Day 2009! Today marks the kickoff to what could be a very interesting and very important week for the hometown hockey squad. The first round of tonight’s big event will be broadcast live from the Bell Centre in Montreal on Versus, with rounds 2 through 7 being held tomorrow. This all leads to Wednesday’s free agent frenzy, when the league’s offseason free agency period begins.
At this point, GM Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins own the 25th selection in tonight’s first round. However, rumors have spread that tonight could mark a turning point in the formation of the Bruins teams of the future. Multiple media sources have reported this morning that restricted free agent Phil Kessel has been offered to the Toronto Maple Leafs, in exchange for 31-year-old defenseman Tomas Kaberle and Toronto’s first round pick tonight, which is 7th overall. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that “the Leafs are apparently canvassing the league to see if there are any better offers out there.” Reports indicate that Toronto is very hesitant to part with their first round pick this evening.
Tomas Kaberle has been a Maple Leaf his entire professional career, spending ten seasons in royal blue. He has two years left on his current contract, worth $4.25 million per season. Kaberle’s deal does include a no-trade clause, but also included in that contract is a small window in each offseason in which Toronto is able to dish off the defenseman. That window opens with the commencement of tonight’s draft.