Ever since Josh Yohe of The Athletic reported on an apparent rift between Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan and star winger Phil Kessel, beat reporters in nearly every NHL city have come out of the woodwork with their best offers for the prolific goal scorer.
In case you missed it, in a column titled “The truth about Phil Kessel, Mike Sullivan and the Pittsburgh Penguins”, Yohe claims that a strained relationship between Sullivan and Kessel could end up with Kessel being traded at some point, potentially as early as this offseason:
All is not well in the relationship between Kessel and Mike Sullivan. Long before this off-season, the coach knew his relationship with Kessel could be a problem.
Will Phil Kessel stay or go?
Just yesterday Josh Lile of The Dallas News put forth his case for the Dallas Stars to acquire Kessel via trade, calling the two sides a perfect fit for one another.
Trading Phil Kessel is silly, but if the Penguins want to be silly, someone will oblige them. The Dallas Stars should be that team because the chances of a better fit becoming available are slim to none.
With Alex Radulov and Valeri Nichushkin penciled in as the number one and number two options on the right wing in Dallas next season, how perfect would Kessel be as a third option? He’d obviously slot in ahead of Nichushkin and could be used along with Radulov in a 1A/1B type situation. The cost of acquisition, of course, won’t be cheap but the Stars have the assets to take a healthy run at Kessel should they elect to do so.
Aside from a few “untouchable” players, Lile argues that the Stars are open for business in terms of trading assets for a player like Kessel:
Kessel won’t be cheap, but these trade rarely work out poorly for the team acquiring the best player in the deal. As long as the ask doesn’t involve Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, John Klingberg, Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell (maybe), or Radulov the price is unlikely to be prohibitive. Adding Kessel to that group would be a coup.
Here’s the catch though… the Penguins aren’t going to want spare parts back for Kessel. There’s little doubt that they’d be seeking not only Heiskanen, last offseason’s 3rd overall selection, but even more as part of a trade return for Kessel. At what point does the price become too high?