NHL insider Elliotte Friedman recently wrote on his blog “31 Thoughts”, that the Penguins “tested the market” on Phil Kessel. Kessel being in trade rumors is nothing new, but with the Penguins concerning start to the season; this feels a little too real. Getting rid of Phil Kessel won’t make this Penguins team better.
Remember when players like Blake Comeau, Nick Spaling, and Brandon Sutter were tasked with providing depth scoring? I certainly don’t want to but that shows the importance of what a guy like Kessel provides. Finding depth scoring in this league is more important now than ever. Whether if he is on the 1st line or the 3rd line, Kessel produces.
The salary cap is an obvious issue the Penguins have to deal with. To further my point about keeping Kessel, I decided to take the average cap hit of the 5 players who finished right under him in the scoring leaders last year. That number averages out to just over 8.1 million dollars. Kessel makes 6.8 million. You won’t find a more efficient player in the league, especially one for trade.
Another big advantage in Kessel’s game is his playoff production. Over the last 3 playoffs, Kessel is tied for 2nd on the Penguins with the most points. That’s pretty good for a “distraction” and a “liability”.
People in Pittsburgh should be happy that we have a talent like Phil, instead of trying to constantly run him out of town.