Phil Kessel has been traded by the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Arizona Coyotes. Details of the trade are that the Penguins will receive forward Alex Galchenyuk, and defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph in exchange for Kessel, defenseman Dane Birks and a fourth-round pick.
No salary was retained in the deal.
Kessel spent the past four seasons with the Penguins after being traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs along with Tyler Biggs, Tim Erixon and a conditional second-round pick in exchange for Kasperi Kapanen, Scott Harrington, Nick Spaling and conditional first and third-round picks. Toronto also retained $1.2 million of Kessel’s salary for the remaining seven seasons of his contract.
The Kessel Trade That Didn’t Happen
The trade that was supposed to happen then didn’t happen, finally happened.
It was no secret the Pittsburg Penguins were looking to move Phil Kessel in a trade, but Kessel had a lot of say as to where he could and would eventually go. The Penguins and the Minnesota Wild worked out a trade — one that included Jason Zucker — but Kessel declined the move and the Penguins went back to the drawing board.
GM Jim Rutherford then said publicly that he wasn’t shopping Kessel any longer. The assumption was that he didn’t want Kessel dictating the terms of the trade so he put it on the backburner. The reality was, Rutherford wanted to send a message that Kessel needed to work with the Penguins to facilitate a move, otherwise he’d be back with the Penguins, a place he didn’t want to be next season.
The Kessel Trade That Did Happen
In the end, Kessel didn’t have to give much. Rumored as a location he was always willing to go to, the Penguins were able to ship Kessel off to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
Kessel will join former coach Rick Tocchet and be in a prime position to become the Coyotes top scorer on an offense that includes Derek Stepan, Nick Schmaltz, and Carl Soderberg.
Kessel tallied 82 points (27 goals, 55 assists) in 2018-19 and at a $6.8 million cap hit, rumors swirled that the Penguins were willing to move his consistent offense to shake up the team and create some financial flexibility to make moves on July 1.
Part of that shakeup came because the Penguins were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the New York Islanders.
What’s Next For Both Teams
Both the Penguins and Coyotes are rumored to eager to make moves on July 1. The Coyotes intend to be a team that spends more this offseason than they have, potentially, in their franchise’s history. The Penguins are ready to spend to the cap to improve their fortunes in the postseason for next season.
Coyotes fans seem happy to welcome Kessel and his offense to the team, while fans in Pittsburgh are sending less-than-well-wishes to Kessel on the way out the door.
The Kessel drama, for now, is over and both teams can get back to business with one the most speculated trades of the summer now complete.