There are mixed rumors as to whether or not forward Phil Kessel is being shopped by the Pittsburgh Penguins who are in a race to make the NHL playoffs.
After Elliotte Friedman first put it out there that multiple sources have said that the Pittsburgh Penguins have “tested the market” for winger Phil Kessel, it didn't take long for that rumor to be somewhat retracted. Whether pressure came from the organization or the Penguins themselves were, at one time shopping him but may be now backing off, a Kessel trade might be something worth keeping an eye on. The Penguins have struggled this season and while their efforts of late have improved, there's a sense that general manager Jim Rutherford is still looking to make move.One move they shouldn't make is moving Kessel, and there are plenty of reasons why.
Not Every Trade Is A Good Trade
The Penguins have already been one of the busier teams in terms of trades this season. Trading for Tanner Pearson, speculation was that the team wasn't going to slow down in their attempts to make more moves. They had a weakened blue line and badly missed Justin Schultz and after starting out with a terrible record considering expectations, these little trades were part of the Penguins plans to turn things around. Unfortunately, the team is all out of little trades at this point and any further moves will need to include a bigger ticket item. Kessel certainly qualifies.
But, making a move just for the sake of shaking things up is not always the most sound of plans. There is a risk that if little moves can't be made and bigger moves are next, the odds of a drastic mistake happening go way up. Kessel is not the kind of player you trade lightly.
It's Not Going To Help The Team
If the idea of a trade is to boost the team and eke out wins the club wasn;t otherwise getting, this rumor isn't helping. Players like Sidney Crosby have already gone public in an attempt to dismiss the rumors and the franchise doesn't need this kind of distraction.
Trading Kessel, who has a partial no-trade clause and would have some control over where he goes, would not be a move felt lightly and every player in that locker room understands his importance to the team. Moving him suggests, in a manner of speaking, that the team is ok with taking out a huge chunk of their offense. How can the management team be ok with sending that kind of message?
If Kessel was a distraction or there was friction on the team that included his name, that would be one thing. This season, no such chatter exists. Why ruffle something that seems quite settled?
For Once, Get Kessel's Name Out Of The Rumor Mill
Kessel's name has consistently been in the rumor mill throughout his NHL career. This despite scoring a ton of goals, almost never having a bad season, scoring 92 points in 2017-18 and with 33 points in 27 games already for the Penguins this season. It's, frankly, amazing that he's out there in the trade winds as often as he is.
It would be wise for the organization to finally secure him a spot on the roster and take away the thought that he would be a piece the team is willing to move. His $6.8 million per season salary is hardly terrible by today's NHL standards so it seems odd that the club would think about trading such a productive player who isn't killing your cap based on value per dollar spent. That doesn't mean these rumors will go away anytime soon and Kessel could be that guy who's always in the trade rumor mill. That said, they should.