The Penguins and the trading Phil Kessel rumors, stop the madness! – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

The Penguins and the trading Phil Kessel rumors, stop the madness!

It seems a local columnist has stirred up a lot of noise recently with rumors of a trade. My guess is that I really don’t have to mention any names for anyone but the most casual of fans to know of whom I mean. Soon after that particular columnist article appeared, first CBS sports picked it up, then Yahoo Sports, and NHL.com. In the wake of that article Jim Rutherford was forced to publicly disavow the likelihood of any such trade. The media frenzy even caused the object of those rumors, Phil Kessel, to comment on them. Yet I am still seeing this trade rumor popping up, including one blog suggesting that Kessel is expendable.

If anyone has ever read anything I have written or heard me discuss any trades, they know I am not one of those types that feel there are players you should never trade. On the contrary, to use a sales axiom, I would even consider the chair I am sitting on is for sale for the right price. And I further recognize that there really aren’t a whole lot of new, exciting things to talk about right now except trade rumor, at least until training camps open and we can start evaluating what the players are looking like. In fact, even I have proposed several trade ideas. So, the least I could do in all fairness is examine the trade.

Over the past two regular seasons Kessel has not missed a game; a rarity indeed on a team that has players dropping like flies. He has scored 49 goals 80 assists and 129 points; all top marks for Pens Right Wings. His 49 goals represent nearly 40% of all goals scored by Penguin Right Wings.

Those numbers are also good enough for the 5th best mark among RWs in the league, only behind Patrick Kane, Blake Wheeler, Nikita Kucherov, and Vladimir Tarasenko; not bad company.

Kessel’s playoff performance over the past 2 years puts him in a class by himself, over these last two years when talking about Right Wings. Without going back over all the numbers that another writer brought up here on this site, the next closest Right Wing to Kessel has less than half the number of points he has and even his P60 statistics are tops among players with more than 20 playoff games over the last 2 years.

What seems to me to be laughable was one particular on-line article I read where the author of that article tried to suggest that Bryan Rust, Tom Kuhnhackl, Josh Archibald, Carter Rowney, Ryan Reaves and Conor Sheary were roughly equivalent to Kessel. Yes the Penguins are overloaded with Right Wings but only Patric Hornqvist can be thought of as anywhere near equal to Kessel.

Who knows what some of these players will look like in training camp, let alone what the team will be looking like at the trade dead line. Maybe Daniel Sprong will show the same type of scoring prowess that Kessel has, but no veteran player has. If Sprong does show that pedigree, certainly Kessel’s value to the team will depreciate and trading him may start to make more financial sense.

However, even if Sprong and Zach Aston-Reese force their way on to the NHL roster, the more likely trade bait at the trade deadline still would not be Kessel. To make a trade the Penguins would need to find a team that is interested in acquiring a Right Wing, then that team would need to be able to not only afford Kessel right then and there, but for several more years down the road. Next the team would need to either be acceptable to Kessel or one of the teams that his limited no trade contract would allow.

A more tradable Right Wing, should Sprong and Aston-Reese show they are NHL ready, would be Hornqvist. He is a made to order rent-a-player. His contract ends at the end of the season and is fractional compared to Kessel’s. Teams looking for a Right Wing for a playoff run would be more attracted to Hornqvist

Please do not misunderstand me, I am not looking to trade either player; just pointing out some of the gaping holes in all of the trade rumors talk instigated by a sports columnist who may not really have thought too deeply about what he was writing. I do feel that all players are tradable at the right price but Kessel’s value to this team is probably higher than any team would be willing to pay.

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  1. Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
    July 17, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Hey Other Rick,

    Well thought out and well done.

    Especially like the part where you said you’d consider selling your favorite chair for the right price … 🙂

    In all seriousness, trading Kessel could be a dicey proposition, indeed. While it’s tempting from a salary-cap standpoint, I agree that it might be tough to get equal value in return.

    Plus, Kessel’s just so deadly…especially on the power play. I don’t know how you’d replace his creativity, shot and presence. He commands the penalty killers’ attention, which takes their focus off a couple of guys named Sid and Geno …


    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      July 17, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Rick,

      Agreed 100%, right now, with Kessel, the Pens actually have a three headed monster which makes that much more room for each of them to operate.

      By the way I did notice you were looking at my chair, what would you offer? 🙂

      • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
        July 17, 2017 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        Derrick Pouliot … 🙂

        (Sorry, Derrick.)

        • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
          July 17, 2017 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

          At least at this point of his career, that does seem like an equal trade, from a hockey perspective. Opposing players would have similar difficulties/ease getting around them when they would be on the ice.

          • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
            July 17, 2017 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

            The chair may be a tad more effective in the d-zone … 🙂

            • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
              July 17, 2017 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

              Point take, so I may have to up the asking price for my chair. 🙂

            • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
              July 17, 2017 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

              All kidding aside, I hope Pouliot’s able to come to camp and establish himself this year.

              I think we all agree the offensive skills and instincts are there. He just needs to up his compete level and be reasonably steady on defense.


            • Jim's Gravatar Jim
              July 17, 2017 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

              I heard Iglins is available.
              Do you like antiques OTR.
              Or maybe Orr will come out of retirement
              if throw in your desk too. 😅😅😅

            • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
              July 17, 2017 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

              Hey Rick,

              I had been thinking about that. He and Archibald getting one way contracts. I have also been thinking about the elevating of Gonchar to a full time assistant. I would like to think that Sarge may have a very positive impact on Pouliot. A lot of people are in agreement that this is a make or break year for him and I would think that if he does finally make it, he will owe a lot to Gonchar.

            • Jim's Gravatar Jim
              July 17, 2017 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

              Sorry OTR
              Typo.. should be Jarome Iginla

            • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
              July 17, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

              Sorry Rick, I think I may have to take Jim up on that deal, My desk is almost as old as Orr so that may be a rather even deal. 🙂

            • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
              July 17, 2017 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

              I knew who you meant, Inginla and Orr for my Desk and Chair, done!

  2. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    July 17, 2017 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Hey Coach,
    Very well written and insightful. Like you I too believe everyone and anyone could be traded if the deal was one sided in our favor enough. Problem is, as you pointed out that many teams simply will not pay us the proper return for what Kessel is worth to us right now. In the future, who knows.
    Being far away I was last to find out that Tocchet had to buffer himself between Phil and Sully. I never heard that before until just a few weeks ago when these rumors started. But I liked Phil’s answer when asked about these rumors.” That is the Hockey business. I have been traded ( twice ) before.”
    So unless we get a fabulous return all is just talk.
    A good GM must always be active in the back rooms, silently listening to any and all deals that may make his team better. That is hockey.

    Great article Coach and very timely.

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      July 17, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Jim,

      I must confess when Tocchet jumped, I was a little worried, but apparently word has it that Recchi can fill the Phil whisperer role rather well, as well.


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