On the Pittsburgh Penguins and Phil Kessel …
Matt Gajtka of Pittsburgh Hockey Now: A source is saying that at least two teams in the Eastern Conference that didn’t make the playoffs this past season have made trade proposals for Phil Kessel. The Penguins are interested in what these teams could have to offer. Talks are in the early stages.
It’s not a surprise that teams would be intrigued if Kessel is available, and has been told that the Penguins are not determined to trade Kessel, but they are keeping their options open.
Kessel will be 31-years old when the season starts. He has four years left with the Maple Leafs retaining $1.2 million and the Penguins on the hook for $6.8 million.
Josh Yohe reported earlier in the week that Kessel is frustrated with not playing enough with Evgeny Malkin like he did the previous year when they won the Cup.
Have been told that the Penguins are not actively shopping Kessel, but would be willing to listen to offers.
It’s hard to see a trade scenario where the Penguins would win any trade and one that would improve the Penguins overall production.
Jared Clinton of The Hockey News: Potential landing spots if the Penguins do trade Kessel.
Vegas Golden Knights – Will have lots of salary cap space to take on Kessel’s salary even after signing all their pending free agents.
St. Louis Blues – In a win-now mode and plenty of salary cap space this offseason. They won’t want to give up any of their top prospects, but might move Ivan Barbashev or someone similar. They could be willing to move a first-round pick.
New York Islanders – Kessel may only agree to go if John Tavares remains. Playing with either Tavares or Matthew Brazal may be tempting. Islanders still need a goalie and an upgrade on the blue line. The Islanders have four picks in the top two rounds and may rather move those than their top prospects.
Carolina Hurricanes – May not sound like a natural fit, but the Hurricanes do need scoring. the Hurricanes could have over $32 million in cap space this offseason.