Done! Kessel Trade Analysis | Pittsburgh Hockey Now
Connect with us


Done! Kessel Trade Analysis



Whew. The summer was going to drag on for the Penguins with rumors and angst. Instead, the Pittsburgh Penguins and GM Jim Rutherford rid themselves of their biggest internal issue, gained $1.9 million cap space and gained an interesting prospect. Phil Kessel gets to play for head coach Rick Tocchet in Arizona.

And that is the great Phil Kessel trade of 2019.

For Kessel, marginal prospect Dane Birks and a 2021 fourth-round pick, the Penguins will receive 25-year-old Alex Galchenyuk and prospect Pierre Olivier Joseph. And the Penguins save $1.9 million.

Galchenyuk had 19 goals last season but only 41 points in his first season with Arizona.

Galchenyuk struggled to catch on in Montreal and was dealt for Max Domi last summer. In some irony, Arizona chose Galchenyuk over the Penguins offer which included Dominik Simon or Bryan Rust.

Spot analysis of Galchenyuk is that he is a perimeter player without much defensive prowess. He was a center and winger in Montreal but former Montreal coach Claude Julien was not enthralled or happy with Galchenyuk’s attention to detail. He was a minus-19 with Arizona last season.

Galchenyuk is a prime candidate to flip for a winger more tuned to the Penguins push for honest play.

However, the Penguins also added 2017 Arizona first-round pick Pierre Olivier Joseph. The defenseman will turn 20 Monday. He is lightning fast, active in all three zones but a little bit skinny and still inconsistent.

The Galchenyuk return is less than the return the Penguins were set to receive from Minnesota, which was Jason Zucker. However, the Penguins had no choice. Kessel had not only worn out his welcome but he became a contagious problem.

Draft Kings $200 risk-free bet!

Kessel popped 82 points in 82 games. However, his power play work artificially inflated his totals.

The Penguins will miss Kessel on the right wing. Galchenyuk is not his equal but the moves gives the Penguins the chance to begin the “refresh” Rutherford discussed at the draft.

Scouts have been talking about Joseph. The defenseman could be ready to move to the big show this season. He is tall but light. He is a great skater and aggressive in all three zones but sometimes over aggressive and takes bad penalties.

Does that sound like a young and taller version of a Penguins star defenseman?

What the Penguins do with the additional cash will tip the balance of the trade. They now have the ability to dabble in the free agent market.

They made a hockey trade gained a prospect and cash. Given Kessel’s rejection of undesirable locations, the Penguins ha ds were tied but Rutherford’s poker bluff worked. Arizona GM John Chayka buckled. He made a strong offer after Arizona failed to land Patrick Marleau and the Toronto first round pick last week.

Arizona head coach Rick Tocchet talked openly of needing a 20-goal scorer and go-to player. Well, now he has a reluctant star who relishes both anonymity and lack of pressure.

How the two-time Stanley Cup champion handles that and how Joseph matures will define the trade for Arizona.

In the meantime, Penguins fans can train their energy solely on Jack Johnson without wasting time to defend Kessel.

The refresh can now take the next steps. Phase one is complete and at worst Rutherford earned a draw despite impossible circumstances. He’s still got it.


Subscribe to PHN+

Pittsburgh Hockey Now owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

Advertisement Draft Kings $200 risk-free bet!


  1. Matt Luda

    June 29, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    Even though Galchenyuk was born in Milwaukee, he spent nine years in Russia, where his parents were born. He and Malkin could be a great match on line two. Best case: This is the season that his career takes off after several false starts.

  2. BIG B

    June 29, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    Dan the philbillies are out in full tonight on twitter and most in their condemnation of the trade have found a way to blame Jack Johnson as if he was the reason the coach and Phil hating each other.If GMJR traded J.J tonight they would still say he was an idiot for signing him in the first place. I truly believe some would say JR was an idiot for taking on a 12.5 million cap if he traded JJ for Connor McDavid.

    • Hatrick Pornqvist

      June 29, 2019 at 11:57 pm

      Lol, I saw one comment that said Johnson was to blame for losing Kapanen, Sheary, and now Kessel. It ended with fire GMJR. That was the whole thing. I guess they forgot to add that he shot Kennedy from the book depository.

  3. Matt Luda

    June 29, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    Two years of Phil the Thrill, two years of Phil the Pill. I would make that trade again. Good luck, desert dog.

  4. RobertU

    June 30, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Also, this kind of proves that many of us were right about Phil. If he okayed this trade or listed the Coyotes as a team he’d be willing to go to, it kind of shows he has no interest in winning anymore. Wonder how that attitude would manifest on the ice? Maybe in not playing a full game, taking laps when others are battling for pucks, and generally not caring until it’s power play time?

    Not sure why he’d veto MN and okay Arizona. Maybe he can get in some good golf and will be closer to Vegas? Can’t be just about one coach can it?

    • Matt Luda

      June 30, 2019 at 11:32 am

      Two words — Rick Tocchet.

  5. Alex

    June 30, 2019 at 11:47 am

    POJ and Riikola are both going to get a shot so I think JJ is as good as gone but Rust will probably have to go with him. I could also see Galchenyuk flipped for Zucker if MIN is desperate. I think Gal has upside with us as a possible 70 pt guy but if he’s flipped for Zucker we actually did really well cause POJ is a future top 4 guy and will fit out need for mobile dmen. Rust and JJ will probably happen today before FA opens and allow us to make a big addition or two in FA while also netting Rust replacement in a guy like Perry. I could see us getting Perry (Can play big and would be really good 3rd liner, also better at moving into top 6 than rust if needed) and one or two guys like Ferland, Jubmo Joe, Anders Lee, Maroon, Chiasson, Boyle, Johansson, Zuccarello, Nyquist, Benn, etc. I think we’ll be a much deeper and balanced team next year because of this trade and the hopeful Rust+JJ.

  6. Cal

    June 30, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    Ugh , some of the “other” sites are so bunk*. They are hard to follow,,(so I stopped for the most part) . I hope the Pens add some beef as long as they can play. Its interesting to see how the Pens are slowly getting younger with most of their moves. I can see Rusty on the move as well as Schultz. It would be great to see some aggressive players come in to Pitts. Ferland? The Ritchie brothers? Greenway (please yes), Crouse? Players of that ilk. Just my 2 cents.

Make your voice heard

%d bloggers like this:

Join PHN Extra!

Join PHN+ today for exclusive content from Dan and Shelly plus a completely Google ad-free experience.


Or enter your email below to sign-up for our mailing list.

Thank you!

Something went wrong.

No thanks. I don't want.

Send this to a friend