Welcome back, Phil Kessel. The Pittsburgh Penguins toasted their former sniper during a TV timeout Friday against the Arizona Coyotes. The game marked the first time Kessel returned to Pittsburgh after four years as a beloved fan favorite. As tradition, the Penguins honored Kessel with a special video tribute played on the center ice scoreboard to take a deserved walk down memory lane.
The Wisconsin native previously played for the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs but enjoyed a large portion of his personal accomplishments in a black and gold sweater. Kessel spent four seasons with the Penguins, where he became a two-time Stanley Cup Champion (2016, ’17). In back-to-back Stanley Cup runs, Kessel scored 18 goals and 27 (45 points) in 49 playoff games.
In his regular-season career with the Penguins, Kessel recorded 303 points, including 110 goals. On July 1, 2015 the Penguins acquired Kessel, Tyler Biggs, Tim Erixon, and a conditional second-round draft pick for Kasperi Kapanen, Scott Harrington, Nick Spaling, and conditional first and third-round draft picks.
While other fanbases grinded on Kessel for his quirks, Penguins fans embraced him for his on-ice performance, being an ambassador for cancer survivors, and a pair of Stanley Cups.
Kessel was traded for the third time in his career on June 29, 2019. The Penguins acquired forward Alex Galchenyuk and defense prospect Pierre-Olivier Joseph in the swap with Arizona after Kessel nixed a proposed trade to Minnesota. In 19 games, Galchenyuk has tallied two goals, eight assists, and 10 points. Joseph is currently in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now will update the story when the official video is available.
The Penguins and fans at PPG Paints Arena got to say thanks. Take a gander at the memorable Penguins career of Phil Kessel once more: