Jeremy Roenick: Penguins’ Phil Kessel will accept trade to only 1 team
Popular Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel will accept a trade to one team and one team only, NBC Sports analyst Jeremy Roenick said in a radio interview on Wednesday.
“I know where he wants to go and we’ll see if he gets that option,” Roenick told 550 AM in Buffalo. “He does want to go west. There is one team that he does want to go play for, and I don’t think he’ll stand for anything less. He’ll stay in Pittsburgh and his contract now and be happy with it or not be happy with it or they’ll trade him to the team that he wants to go to.”
Roenick declined to specify Kessel’s preferred destination, hinting that it was a team in the southwest United States that didn’t make the playoffs this season.
It’s pretty clear Roenick was referring to the Arizona Coyotes. Kessel and Arizona coach Rick Tocchet were close friends when they were in Pittsburgh together. Roenick theoretically could have been referring to the Los Angeles Kings or Anaheim Ducks, but there are little to no known connections between Kessel and those clubs.
The Penguins are shopping Kessel, a proven offensive contributor who doesn’t fit into the team’s intention to become more defensively responsible next season.
Kessel has a limited no-trade clause in his contract that specifies eight teams he can be moved to without prior approval. According to multiple reports, he used his veto power to scrap a proposed trade between the Penguins and Minnesota Wild.
On the ice, Arizona would be a perfect fit for Kessel. The Coyotes had the fourth-worst offense in the league this season, averaging 2.55 goals per game, but missed the playoffs by only four points.
Off the ice, there are complications because Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway is reportedly in the process of selling his majority stake in the team. Kessel’s contract, which will carry a $6.8 million salary cap hit for the next three seasons, isn’t onerous for a point-per-game scorer by modern NHL standards, but it’s still a hefty expenditure for a team in the middle of a potential ownership change to take on.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .