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Fallout of the failed Phil Kessel trade to Minnesota?
Pittsburgh is still not bringing him back under any circumstances. They’re determined to start next season with Phil Kessel off their roster.
What happens next if Pittsburgh can’t find a trade partner without Kessel’s permission (a very difficult task with how purposely difficult Kessel has made his list) will be the fascinating part of how long Kessel tries to take this. He knows he’s not wanted back but the sense of the situation is that it wouldn’t stop Kessel from taking things to July or even August if a suitable trade destination doesn’t emerge before then.
And that’s the worst case scenario for the Penguins right now who wanted to get this done before the end of the month, though, I’d argue they’ve made their own bed as based on Kessel’s low trade value which was established even as far back as last summer, his greatest value to Pittsburgh is being in a Penguin uniform on opening night. Word continues to circulate at least from the Penguins end that things got bad behind the scenes last spring but this isn’t some type of Antonio Brown situation.
Subtracting talent for team chemistry and more buy-in players can always be a risky route but this is what the Penguins have set their sights to do this off-season and one way or another, they’re going to do it, sources say.
The Penguins for months had planned to trade Kessel this summer and the belief around the league even right after the February trade deadline was that Jim Rutherford & Co were always going to make Kessel the scapegoat if there was an early exit, and that only enhanced during organization meetings immediately after being swept by the Islanders. A unanimous decision in the organization was made to trade Kessel by the time Pittsburgh’s concluded their first and second phase of organization meetings which were done during the first week of May.
League sources say before Penguins GM Jim Rutherford took about 10-14 days away to decompress all the info that was brought to the table by multiple parties, he informed rival General Manager’s in early May of an internal deadline to complete a Phil Kessel trade before the start of the Stanley Cup Final. Rutherford had thought he accomplished that goal. The Minnesota scenario was put in play about two weeks before it got leaked and it was something GM Paul Fenton wanted to sit on it for a week or two and on Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access" but a decision from Kessel was already made by the time the official paperwork got to Kessel and his agency. Newport Sports that reps Kessel is plugged-in like no other agency and they got wind Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access" Kessel’s reps had already provided him thorough information on the Wild’s roster, prospect system, coaching tactics of Bruce Boudreau, what players think of playing in Minnesota, Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"