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Burke wanted to offer sheet Kessel before trading for him as Leafs GM

Carlos Osorio / Toronto Star / Getty

Given his history, it might seem like Brian Burke isn't a fan of offer sheets. However, he says that's not the case.

The Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operations said Tuesday he sought to file an offer sheet for then-Boston Bruins forward Phil Kessel when he was the Toronto Maple Leafs general manager.

"I was prepared to offer sheet Phil Kessel when I (traded for) him in Toronto, and I told the Boston Bruins that," Burke told Sportsnet's Eric Francis. "They were trying to make a deal with the (Los Angeles) Kings and trying to talk to (the) Nashville (Predators), and I said, 'Either you guys make a deal with me or I'm going to offer sheet him.' So they made a deal with me."

In September 2009, the Bruins traded Kessel to the Maple Leafs for a 2010 first-round pick (which Boston used to select Tyler Seguin), a 2011 first-rounder (with which they took Dougie Hamilton), and a 2010 second-round selection.

Two years earlier, when Burke was GM of the Anaheim Ducks, he infamously challenged Edmonton Oilers counterpart Kevin Lowe to a barn fight after the Canadian club signed forward Dustin Penner to a five-year, $21.25-million offer sheet, which Burke ultimately declined to match. Anaheim got three picks from Edmonton as compensation, but Burke clearly wasn't happy about it.

"My anger about it, going back, was I didn't like the player they signed and I didn't like the way they did it," Burke said Tuesday, before acknowledging he understood why Penner signed the offer sheet.

He added: "The fact that the player took advantage of our cap situation and signed an offer sheet we couldn't match made sense."

Similarly, the 66-year-old understands why the recent Jesperi Kotkaniemi situation played out as it did.

Kotkaniemi signed a one-year offer sheet with the Hurricanes worth $6,100,015. Seven days later, Montreal declined to match it, taking first- and third-round selections from Carolina instead and then landing forward Christian Dvorak in a separate deal with the Arizona Coyotes.

"I thought it was a smart move by Carolina to handcuff Montreal, and I think it was a smart move to take the picks, which they managed to flip for a player I think will be useful," Burke said.

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