It seems like Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel has completely worn out his welcome in the Penguins organization and if things keep trending the way they are it may not be long before he has worn out his welcome with the Penguins fan base either.
Following a very disappointing 1st round exit in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Penguins, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford made it quite clear that there would be significant changes to the organization made over the course of the summer. Initially rumors surrounding the future of star forward Evgeni Malkin began to float around following those comments but those have since died down and it now seems like Phil Kessel is the man at the top of Rutherford's list. In fact it seems like Rutherford has already attempted to pull the trigger on a deal that would see Kessel shipped out of Pittsburgh.
TSN National Hockey League insider Bob McKenzie was a guest on "Leafs Lunch" on TSN radio this week when he was asked about the rumors that have been floating around Kessel. Now needless to say McKenzie always has a very interesting, and very informed, opinion to share on these topics, but the information he dropped regarding the Kessel rumors was truly a bombshell. McKenzie revealed that not only had the Penguins attempted to make a 4 player trade happen, but revealed the names of all 4 of the players who would have been involved in the trade deal.
"The Kessel deal will get done as soon as Jim Rutherford feels he gets fair value on it and he already thought, by all accounts, he got fair value on a potential deal with the Minnesota Wild."
So who were the players involved in that ill fated deal? According to McKenzie it sounds like we would have seen a straight up 1 for 1 trade of Wild forward Jason Zucker for Phil Kessel, while the two sides would have also swapped off some bad contracts in the process making this a 4 player deal.
"Jason Zucker would come over from Minnesota and there would potentially be an exchange of bad contracts with Jack Johnson out of Pittsburgh and Victor Rask our of Minnesota," said McKenzie on TSN radio.
So why did the deal fall apart? It sounds like both the Wild and the Penguins liked the deal but that Phil Kessel himself, who has to submit a list of just 8 teams to which he would accept a trade, put a stop to it by refusing to go to Minnesota.
"It seems pretty clear that Pittsburgh had a deal that they thought was pretty amendable, and Phil Kessel was asked if he would sign off on a deal to go to the Minnesota Wild... and Kessel by all accounts thought about it for a little bit and said no."
McKenzie did add that the fact that this botched trade has become a matter of public record could help the Penguins in the end. The 8 teams on Kessel's list may be calling now that it seems there is a real chance he will be traded over the summer or perhaps even at the National Hockey League Entry Draft.