Whether he’s on the lake or on the golf course, Phil Kessel’s summer fun could be soon interrupted by a call from Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford.
Josh Yohe of The Athletic reports that the Penguins and Minnesota Wild are engaged in trade discussion “revolving” around the ultra-talented winger, while Yohe’s colleague Michael Russo has suggested that Minnesota’s Jason Zucker and Victor Rask could be packaged as part of the deal to acquire Kessel and veteran defenseman Jack Johnson.
Kessel’s future in Pittsburgh has seemed uncertain for quite a while now, with speculation surfacing not long after the Penguins wrapped up their second straight Stanley Cup season two years ago. Losing in four straight to the New York Islanders this season, change is certain for a Penguins franchise that seems hellbent on trying to eke out as many competitive seasons as possible under veteran general manager Jim Rutherford, and throughout the latter half of Sidney Crosby’s career.
In possession of a no-movement provision, Kessel will have to agree to a trade. And, despite spending a season at the University of Minnesota, The Athletic is reporting that Kessel has done “research” on the Wild and remains “unsure” about a potential move.
According to Elliotte Friedman, Minnesota is not on a list of teams Kessel can be traded to without his blessing.
Regardless of whether or not he winds up with the Wild, it appears the Penguins will continue to explore opportunities to shed Kessel. He hasn’t been the only high-profile Penguin involved in the offseason rumour mill, however. There have been several thinkpieces built around a potenitial Evgeni Malkin trade, while others have suggested that Kris Letang could be the asset moved out in order re-tool a roster that hasn’t met expectations in its last two postseason runs.
Kessel has scored 103 goals in four seasons with the Penguins, and served up 0.92 points per game through his tenure. He’s added another 20 goals and 56 points in four postseason appearances, and could have easily bagged a Conn Smythe Trophy to go along with his two Stanley Cups.
More NHL coverage on Yahoo Sports