The Pittsburgh Penguins have agreed to a trade to send [hide] Phil Kessel to the Arizona Coyotes. A trade call is pending.
For Phil Kessel this is a major win. Kessel’s representation at Newport Sports for weeks has been trying to maneuver a trade to Arizona or Vegas and after blocking the trade to Minnesota earlier this month, they win the day in getting a trade to Arizona.
The Penguins, though, do okay in a situation where Kessel backed them into a corner.
The primary player coming to Pittsburgh in return is center/LW Alex Galchenyuk, a player the Penguins have tried to acquire at various points over the last two years, most notably last June prior to the draft.
Galchenyuk, 25, has one year remaining with a $4.9 million cap hit. He had 19 goals and 22 assists in 79 games last season for Arizona. Galchenyuk is what he is, a fast, versatile forward with size that coaches always think there’s more to give, but Pittsburgh is getting a top-9 forward with 20 goal ability which continues to fit the mold with recent acquisitions of Jared McCann, Nick Blugstad and Dominik Kahun. Pittsburgh will also receive defenseman Pierre-Oliver Joseph, the 23rd overall pick in the 2017 draft.
Pittsburgh creates $1.9 million in cap space with the trade, giving them around $5.1 million in cap space.
From Pittsburgh’s end, are they a better hockey club with this trade?
Let’s not go that far, they’re not by any means. The downside of the trade is the Penguins took 75-85 points out of their lineup for a lesser offensive forward that like Kessel also struggles in his own end and while the Penguins are confident Galchenyuk won’t be a problem in the room, Galchenyuk has had questions in the past with his off-ice work habits and has long frustrated coach with a lack of incentive to play all three zones.
When you put this deal, though, up against the two versions of the blocked Minnesota trade, this is a much better trade for Pittsburgh because the four years left on Jason Zucker’s contract was too much of a gamble, even if Zucker is a much better 200-ft player than Galchenyuk.
With the inclusion of Pierre-Oliver Joseph in the deal, Pittsburgh gets some potential long-term protection as scouts feel Joseph with his strong skating ability and puck moving presence has a good chance of being a serviceable NHL player within a couple years.