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Kessel Era Ends; Shipped To Arizona For Galchenyuk



It has happened.

In what will undoubtedly be the signature move of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ offseason, the team Saturday traded winger Phil Kessel to the Arizona Coyotes.

The Penguins are getting forward Alex Galchenyuk and defense prospect Pierre Olivier Joseph, and also are giving up prospect Dane Birks and a 2021 fourth-round draft pick.

Kessel, 31, won two Stanley Cups in his four seasons with the Penguins, never missed a game and had 82 points in 82 games in 2018-19. However, the sniper became a lightning rod for a mix of support, criticism, trade rumors and hints of discord with coach Mike Sullivan.

Kessel has three years left on his contract with a $6.8 million salary cap hit, while Galchenyuk, 25, has a cap hit of $4.9 million and is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent a year from now.

Galchenyuk, who can play center and left wing, was the third overall pick in the 2012 draft, by Montreal. He spent just one season with Arizona and tied for the team lead with 19 goals. He was the only Coyotes player with more than 40 points.

He has 127 goals, 296 points in 490 career games.

Joseph, who turns 20 on Monday, was a first-round pick by the Coyotes in 2017.

If it was in fact the case that Kessel made things difficult for Sullivan because of an insistence on playing alonside center Evgeni Malkin on the second line — and, really, even if it wasn’t — this opens more options for line combinations and alignments.

Kessel was nearly traded to several Minnesota weeks ago, but he was able to nix the deal based on the limited no-trade clause in his contract. It’s not known whether Kessel listed Arizona as one of the clubs he would accept a trade to or whether he waived the clause to facilitate the deal.

Either way, this reunites him with Arizona coach Rick Tocchet, the former Penguins assistant who was something of a Kessel whisperer.


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Shelly is a columnist and reporter for Pittsburgh Hockey Now. She was a Penguins beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and remains a contributor to The Hockey News. Catch her on Twitter @_shellyanderson

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2 years ago

Oh man. If this is true it’s better than I could have hoped. Galchenyuk seems like a great fit for the Pens.

2 years ago

Awesome! Good luck in the desert Phil. Galchenyuk going to fit in well.

Matt Luda
Matt Luda
2 years ago

Like the move at first blush. Galchenyuk should be highly motivated. If he plays well, he could be re-signed. Otherwise, there would be $4.9 mill more to spend next offseason. Joseph has definite upside and could be the best player in the deal eventually. Kahun and Galchenyuk make for a younger, faster and more versatile team next season. Less costly, too.

Matt Luda
Matt Luda
2 years ago


Matt Luda
Matt Luda
2 years ago

Also, 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 fit for one another. Best case: This is the season that his career takes off after several false starts.

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