It’s been over a month since the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season ended unceremoniously following a four game sweep by the New York Islanders. In the days and weeks that have since passed the frustration hasn’t left Penguins fans and many are calling for major personnel changes this offseason from general manager Jim Rutherford.
One player who is generating a lot of chatter is sniper Phil Kessel. The 31 year old winger has been mentioned in trade rumors for months now, but up until now there’s been no concrete reporting done on potential deals for Kessel.
Earlier today though NHL insider Elliotte Friedman and co-host Jeff Marek dropped their 31 Thoughts podcast in which they talk about a Kessel trade to the… Minnesota Wild?
Check out these juicy quotes from Friedman, transcribed from audio:
“I think it’s going to be pretty fascinating in Minnesota (this offseason). I really do. We’ve talked about (Jared) Spurgeon, I do think it’s their preference to sign him, (Jason) Zucker I think is all but gone. I think they’re going to look to do some things.”
“I think one interesting offseason question is, ‘Does Phil Kessel want to play in Minnesota?’ I could see that.”
“Pittsburgh needs scoring, there’s a Kessel for Zucker deal there that makes sense.”
Interesting proposal. Kessel and Zucker are very similar players, but… Kessel nearly doubled Zucker’s production this past season. Having said that, Kessel earns nearly double what Zucker does agains the salary cap. For his $8 million annual salary, Kessel managed 27 goals and 82 points in 82 games this past season. Zucker managed 21 goals and 42 points in 81 games for $5.5 million. Who’s the better value here?
Zucker is four years younger than Kessel and has hit the 30+ goal and 60+ point plateau in the past, but… is he worth swapping out for an elite goal scorer like Kessel? Which team would need to add to this trade? If it’s a one for one, who comes out the winner?