The Vegas Golden Knights are having blast, competing for the Stanley Cup in the final against the Washington Capitals, in their inaugural year. It's still incredible to write this down. In the postseason, the Golden Knights owe a lot of their success to the tremendous performance of their star goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, whose playoff run would be already over by now if he was still a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
And now in Pittsburgh, things aren't running smoothly.
Ever since rumors emerged that the Penguins could try to move top forward Phil Kessel due to the sour relationship that lingers between the veteran player and team head coach Mike Sullivan, there is no way to put a stop to the ongoing trade rumors that could come to fruition this summer by the former champions.
It all started a few days ago when a huge trade rumor leaked out of Pittsburgh when 105.9 FM radio host Mark Madden revealed that his sources had informed him that the Penguins were actively shopping Kessel to rival teams in an effort to trade him. Madden cited sources both close to the team as well as Kessel himself for the report and shockingly he added that Kessel himself is believed to be ok with the idea of being traded by the franchise.
In a recent radio hit on Sportsnet 960 in Calgary, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman added additional credibility to the report from Madden by echoing the fact that he believes the Penguins are looking to shop Kessel. When asked whether or not it was close to becoming a reality Friedman hesitated a little.
"Well, I think what you have to be careful of is when you say ‘closer to becoming a reality,’ do they have a partner yet,” said Friedman as per Fanrag's Chris Nichols. “I do think Mark’s right on. I don’t have any reason to doubt his reporting. He knows that organization really well and I think there is truth to that. But I just think it’s going to be a kind of complicated deal."
It might be a complicated deal, however, The Hockey News' Jared Clinton had fun picturing Kessel with another club following a trade and his first potential destination appears to be Vegas:
"Again, it’s amazing how greatly things can change in the span of a year. Last season at this time, few players would have willingly packed up and shipped out to Vegas, but the Golden Knights’ success could make them a destination for Kessel. From a cap perspective, too, Vegas should have the money to make it work, particularly if, say, David Perron is jettisoned in the off-season. The Golden Knights could have as much as $30 million to spend, and that’s enough money to bring in Kessel even after signing free agents-to-be James Neal, William Karlsson, Tomes Nosek, Ryan Reaves, Shea Theodore, Colin Miller and William Carrier."
Let's not forget that it seems quite hard on the market to find a taker for Kessel's massive contract, which runs through 2021-22 with an annual cap hit of $6.8 million according to the information provided by CapFriendly. However, the Golden Knights still have plenty of space for him...
Could another star player from Pittsburgh land in Sin City?!