The Penguins reportedly had a deal done to send the popular 31-year-old to the Wild for speedy winger Jason Zucker, but Kessel used his no-trade clause to veto the deal. Kessel has a list of eight teams he can be traded to without prior consent, and Minnesota isn’t one of them.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if, at some point, it gets done with Minnesota,” McKenzie said. “Kessel’s ‘no’ to Pittsburgh wasn’t really a hard, 100 percent no so much as it was, ‘Naw, I don’t really want to go there. Maybe you could check with some other teams.’ I think there is frustration on Kessel’s part that the Penguins maybe aren’t checking with other teams or aren’t interested in doing deals with other teams where Kessel wants to go.”
McKenzie said Kessel would prefer to play for Arizona or Vegas, but the Coyotes haven’t made an offer the Penguins like and the Golden Knights are no longer interested in Kessel after acquiring Mark Stone from Ottawa at the trade deadline.
Kessel has averaged a point per game over the past two seasons, but the Penguins are looking to make changes to their roster and style of play after bowing out of the playoffs in a first-round sweep by the New York Islanders.