Penguins trade Phil Kessel to Coyotes in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk

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Phil Kessel has reportedly been traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Arizona Coyotes. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Phil Kessel has reportedly been traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Arizona Coyotes. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The Pittsburgh Penguins are trading forward Phil Kessel, defenceman Dane Birks and a fourth-round pick to the Arizona Coyotes, in exchange for forward Alex Galchenyuk and defenceman Pierre-Olivier Joseph.

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Kessel scored 27 goals and notched 82 points in 82 games with the Penguins in 2018-19. He was a key component of Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2016 and 2017, and continued to be along the league’s most productive scorers. Kessel led all players with 10 game-winning goals last season.

“First and foremost, I want to thank Phil Kessel for his contributions to the Penguins. He was a key component to our success in winning back-to-back Stanley Cups. We couldn't have done it without him, and for that, we are grateful," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said in a statement. "With that being said, we are excited to welcome a young, skilled player in Alex, and add depth to our defense with first-round draft pick Pierre-Olivier Joseph.”

Rutherfold also confirmed via The Athletic’s Josh Yohe that Kessel asked for a trade several times last season.

Kessel responded, however, and denied that he asked for a trade.

The veteran forward carries a $8 million cap hit for each season until 2021-22, in the middle of his sixth year of an eight-year contract worth $64 million.

Galchenyuk posted 19 goals and 41 points in 72 games during the 2018-19 season, his first with the Coyotes. Prior to the 2018-19 season, Galchenyuk featured for the Montreal Canadiens, but was traded last June in exchange for Max Domi.

The 25-year-old holds a $4.9 million cap hit and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season.

Joseph was selected in the first round (23rd overall) in the 2017 NHL Draft. The 19-year-old defenceman posted 22 points as a member of the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs in 2018-19.

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