If you look at his scoresheet, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel had one of the best seasons of his career in 2017-18. However, it wasn’t enough to quiet all the trade rumors surrounding the veteran player, which have intensified since the Pens were eliminated in the second round at the hands of the Washington Capitals. It all started weeks days ago when a huge trade rumor leaked out 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, adding that the forward himself would be ok with the idea of being traded by the franchise.
While it has been quiet for a time now, it does not mean the Pens are not actively trying to move Kessel. Despite the fact that head coach Mike Sullivan has denied that he and his player weren't in a feud, recently claiming he holds a good relationship with Kessel, in an interview with The Athletic, it seems like a blockbuster could be taking place before the end of the summer.
One that could send Kessel back to Canada. According to NHL insider Jimmy Murphy, there were no discussions between the Penguins and the Montreal Canadiens at the draft, however, things have changed since. It is now believed that a deal could take place as the Pens have been interested in landing captain Max Pacioretty - but one thing is clear. It needs to include Kessel.
On Tuesday, Marc Antoine Godin of The Athletic revealed that the Canadiens have effectively put an end to their relationship with Pacioretty, one of their top players over the past several years. Godin reports that he has a source inside the NHL that is now claiming the Canadiens have informed their captain that they have no interest in negotiating a potential contract extension with him. Additionally Godin reports that Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has informed his captain that he intends to trade him as soon as is possible.
The issue with a trade involving Kessel is his 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 Habs could manage it without issues, especially by moving Pacioretty's deal in the transaction.
What do you think about this rumour?