May 23, 2019 | 6:55pm ET
KESSEL EXPECTED TO BE TRADED
Phil Kessel, right wing
Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is actively engaged in trade talks involving sniper Phil Kessel and sources tell TFP the team is prepared to trade him this off-season.
Kessel, 31, has three-years left on his contract and comes with a $6.8 million salary cap hit – his full annual cap hit is $8 million, but the Toronto Maple Leafs retained $1.2 million, annually, when they traded him to Pittsburgh.
Josh Yohe of The Athletic reported the Minnesota Wild have presented a offer for Kessel that includes forwards Jason Zucker and Victor Rask, with Penguins defenceman Jack Johnson also included in the deal.
Kessel, however, has an eight-team trade list as part of his contract and the Wild are not one of those clubs. For the time being, he appears to be reluctant to waive his no-movement clause for Minnesota, but the deal remains on the table and he could opt to accept a move in the future.
Minnesota isn’t the only team in the hunt for Kessel, though, as at least one other club as part of his preferred eight is also in the mix. It’s unknown, at this point, if an offer for Kessel has been presented by this club or any others outside of the Wild.
If Kessel refuses a move to Minnesota, it’s believed Rutherford will focus on dealing him to another club. Either way, it seems as if Kessel’s tenure in Pittsburgh, albeit successful as he captured two Stanley Cup championships with the club, is coming to an end.
Kessel currently ranks No.2 on the TFP Off-Season Trade Watch list, while Zucker sits at No.8.
In 82 games with the Penguins this season, Kessel registered 27 goals and 55 assists for 82 points. He is four games away from playing in 1,000 career NHL regular-season games.