On the Pittsburgh Penguins and Phil Kessel …
Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford was on 93.7 The Fan and addressed the Phil Kessel trade talk.
“Phil Kessel’s an important part of the Penguins,” Rutherford said in an interview on 93.7 The Fan. “He gets a lot of points. He scores big goals. He sets up big goals. The more impact players that you have, like we have, the better chance you have of winning.
“It may not be on a regular basis, but it may come at a certain time in a series or whatnot, just like it did against Ottawa. Kessel came up with the big goal in that 1-0 game (in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals).
“He’s an important part. I don’t want to sit here and say that a certain player’s not going to get traded at some point in his career. I mean, Phil already did. But that’s not something that I foresee happening right now.”
The Penguins are still looking to add a third line center replace for the departed Nick Bonino. Rutherford said in the interview that they likely won’t break the bank for one.
The Penguins have about $9.5 million in cap space with Conor Sheary and Brian Dumoulin due for big raises. That would leave them with around $2 million after they sign the two to find a center. They could also include salary in a trade to take back a bigger contract.
Rutherford said that as far as he knows Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal is not available.
Avalanche forward Matt Duchene carries a $6 million salary cap hit, with Maple Leafs Tyler Bozak coming in at $4.2 million.
Chris Nichols of FanRag Sports: Elliotte Friedman on Sportsnet 590 thinks there is some merit to the article written by Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Phil Kessel could be moved at some point.
“He’s at $6.8 million against their cap, yes, because Toronto has got a chunk of that,” noted Friedman. “But yes, I think that would be a part of it. But I wonder. A couple of guys I was talking to about it yesterday say that Pittsburgh would probably have to eat some of that. I don’t know where you’re looking at a team that would want to take the full 6.8.
“But I do think that that speculation has some merit. I think the Penguins have, at the very least, looked at it. I don’t it’s necessarily a guarantee that it’s going to happen; but I do think Ron Cook, who is the columnist who wrote that, was not wrong, at least in the idea of Pittsburgh investigating it.”
Friedman goes on to say that with Rich Tocchet now with the Coyotes, it might make some sense. Friedman adds that it’s pure conjecture and isn’t sure how a deal would work.
Friedman was asked with the Montreal Canadiens looking for offense, would Kessel be the best fit? Friedman doesn’t think so.