What else is new in this ongoing story, you shall ask. Well, quite the unexpected, it seems... Ever since rumors emerged that the Pittsburgh 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, the chatter is deafening.
It all started a few 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.
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."
The Hockey News' Jared Clinton revealed the unexpected twist we previously mentioned, when he listed a few trade destinations for Kessel; and one surely stands out. Clinton believes the Los Angeles Kings might be tempted to make a move for Kessel, as he appears to be available at the moment. However, many tweaks would have to be done in LA ahead of such a move, seeing that it could become a transaction they regret making later on... While the Kings have proven that they badly need a scoring boost - especially in the first round of the postseason against the Vegas Golden Knights - they cannot mortgage all of their cap space on Kessel and have barely nothing left for a contract extension for their star defenseman Drew Doughty...
"There’s a massive caveat here, which is that the Kings would probably only be able to make something like this work if they parted ways with a Tyler Toffoli or Tanner Pearson type. Reason being is that the money is awfully hard to work out in Los Angeles and Drew Doughty is going to be in line for a sizeable pay raise come next summer, potentially one with a cap hit that is as much or more than $10 million per season. The Kings need scoring in a bad way, though, and since his breakout season in 2008-09, Kessel only Corey Perry, Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin have scored more goals," writes Clinton.
However, they need to really think this through...