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NHL trade rumors: Penguins 'very interested' in Ryan Kesler

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Pittsburgh reportedly offered Brandon Sutter for Kesler before the Olympics.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Spor

A frontrunner has emerged in the Ryan Kesler sweepstakes, whether the Vancouver Canucks center is actually available or not.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are reportedly "very interested" in acquiring Kesler, according to Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. So much so that general manager Ray Shero made a trade offer to Canucks general manager Mike Gillis before the trade deadline.

Pittsburgh's package included at least center Brandon Sutter and defenseman Derrick Pouliotaccording to Rossi. A pick or two probably would've been included if the talks progressed any further, but apparently that was the extent of the negotiations. It's not known whether Gillis rejected the offer or if the Penguins withdrew it.

At any rate, Sutter would be the young center the Canucks are reportedly looking for in return for Kesler. Time will tell whether Pittsburgh steps up its pursuit of Kesler before the deadline.