NHL News

Trade Grades: Coyotes score big in landing Phil Kessel

After years of rumors — and one deal that fell through thanks his own veto — Phil Kessel has finally been traded. He will make his new home with the Coyotes, as they acquire the 31-year-old, two-time Stanley Cup champ, reuniting him with former Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet.

The deal:

Coyotes get: RW Phil Kessel, D Dane Birks, 2021 fourth-round pick
Penguins get: C Alex Galchenyuk, D Pierre-Olivier Joseph

When I spoke with Coyotes general manager John Chayka at the NHL draft, it was pretty clear what his offseason plan of attack was: Get more scoring in his forward group, and target teams in salary-cap trouble to find it.

“Yeah, we’d like to score some more goals next year. That would be pretty good,” Chayka told me. “Ultimately, teams that are over the cap have to get under. If there’s an opportunity to add to our group, we will.”

Hence, the Phil Kessel trade.

Kessel makes $6.8 million against the cap through 2022, but Alex Galchenyuk‘s $4.9 million this season that the Coyotes just shipped out to Pittsburgh makes up a chunk of that. They were a team that could take the full hit now and in the coming years.

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