I mentioned it yesterday, we all knew and heard it was coming. Phil Kessel was going to get traded. The Pittsburgh Penguins grabbed him along with forward Tyler Biggs, defenseman Tom Erixon and a 2016 second round pick. Pittsburgh gave up former 1st rounder Kasperi Kapanen, Nick Spaling, Scott Harrington, and a conditional 2016 1st round pick and a 2016 3rd round pick. Toronto also has to eat about 15% ($1.2 million per year) of Kessel’s $8 million annual cap hit through 2022.
You’ve gotta say Pittsburgh won this deal. They get their elite scoring winger that they’ve coveted to ride shotgun with Sidney Crosby and Malkin. And they gave up minimal impact pieces to get him. Even if Kapanen becomes a great player he more than likely won’t come close to lighting it up like Kessel. And yet Toronto still has to hope Pittsburgh falters and doesn’t make the playoffs so that 1st round pick they get for Kessel is actually there for them and a good one.
But can some one in Pittsburgh tell me who’s going to play defense? This organization loves to just trade draft pick upon draft pick away and hope what they get in return sticks. And Phil Kessel should stick. But for a guy who isn’t exactly known for his backchecking who is going to fill that defensive need? This reminds me a bit of the Dallas Stars; they can light it up offensively but often have to win 5-4 because they can’t shut down anyone defensively.
Phil’s a world class goal scorer. There’s no denying that unteachable quality he just naturally has. But, Pittsburgh needs defense too and can they find it? And Toronto just traded a stud for ponies to help usher in their rebuild. So… Pittsburgh wins the trade, but both teams have far to go to fill some gaping holes this trade can’t plug.