Tension seems to be rising in Pittsburgh between the team and Phil Kessel
Rob Rossi of The Athletic: Things are apparently getting pretty ugly between the Pittsburgh Penguins and winger Phil Kessel.
They’ve had one failed trade and sources are saying they continue to be interested in moving him. Kessel has an eight-team trade list.
Everyone knows the Penguins don’t have much leverage so the return would likely be underwhelming.
Kessel has been in conflict with head coach Mike Sullivan and source are saying that not being able to move him so far is getting in the way of some of their other offseason plans.
Sources said that Rutherford has been looking to find new wingers for Evgeni Malkin.
“That contract is rough,” a source said. “I don’t know how you move that player with that contract. You have to make it a package from both teams. And if (Rutherford) wants players back, that’s rough — like it already has been — for Pittsburgh.”
Sources believe that at least five teams on Kessel’s list are teams that the Penguins would never trade him too – likely divisional rivals.
The Penguins have received some offers for Kris Letang, but ownership doesn’t want to move him or Malkin.
Josh Yohe of The Athletic: Sources saying trade talks involving the Pittsburgh Penguins are heating up. GM Jim Rutherford is trying to change their culture, move some salary, and bring in a player or two.
The Penguins don’t have a lot of salary space – $3.1 million-ish – with RFAs Marcus Pettersson, Teddy Blueger and Zach Aston-Reece.
There have been multiple reports linking the Penguins to Corey Perry, but a source said they are not interested.
There have also been reports of Wayne Simmonds, but Penguins don’t have the salary cap space to add him.
The Penguins will continue to try to move Phil Kessel and his $6.8 million salary cap hit.