Pittsburgh Penguins' Phil Kessel responds to trade rumors

By The Sports Xchange  |  July 14, 2017 at 11:12 PM
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Phil Kessel has enjoyed his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but that doesn't mean he hasn't heard his name being included in trade rumors.

"You know what, it happens all the time, right?" the Penguins winger told TSN on Friday. "I've been traded before, and if I get traded again, it is what it is. It's a business, and if I'm somewhere else, I'll play hard for them.

"Hockey's a strange game. You never know why you get traded or what they're thinking. It could be from years down the road or whatever. Like I said, it's a business, and if you look at it like that, it's all right."

Kessel's name was linked in potential trade talks this week after former assistant coach Rick Tocchet accepted the Arizona Coyotes' heading coaching position on Tuesday. The Penguins are paying $6.8 million of his $8 million cap hit for the next five seasons. The Toronto Maple Leafs pick up the other $1.2 million per year of the 29-year-old's salary as part of the trade that sent him to Pittsburgh.

Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford told a Pittsburgh radio station on Thursday that he doesn't expect to trade Kessel, who has a limited no-trade clause and has helped the team win back-to-back Stanley Cup titles.

"Phil Kessel's an important part of the Penguins," Rutherford told 93.7 FM The Fan. "He gets a lot of points. He scores big goals. He sets up big goals. The more impact players that you have, like we have, the better chance you have of winning.

"He's an important part. I don't want to sit here and say that a certain player's not going to get traded at some point in his career. I mean, Phil already did. But that's not something that I foresee happening right now."

Kessel has been traded on two occasions in his career, with Boston sending its former first-round pick to Toronto in 2009 and the Maple Leafs shuffling him to the Penguins six years later.

Kessel collected 23 goals and 47 assists in 82 games last season before adding 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 25 games during the playoffs. He has recorded 649 points (296 goals, 353 assists) in 832 career contests with the Bruins, Maple Leafs and Penguins.

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