Phil Kessel is a national treasure. So why does he always seem to come up in trade rumors all of the time? The fans love him and the players love him. But again here we are with Kessel trade rumors swirling in the air. So why is that? Well we’re here to break that down in this article.
Kessel and head coach Mike Sullivan have a reported “bad relationship” and dont see eye to eye. It was reported that Sullivan doesn’t like Kessel’s work ethic. It is also reported that Kessel was angry because he was not on the line with Malkin but put with Brassard.
Many reports have explained the circumstances between Sullivan and Kessel even through last season. Apparently former assistant coach Rick Tochett (now head coach of the Arizona Coyotes) kept Phil in check and was a buffer between Sullivan and Kessel. Now with Tochett gone the relationship has strained more.
The media in Pittsburgh ran with this story to no end. They began reporting on the story and kept it going and going. It’s their job to report what they hear but this took on a life of it’s own. Is the media trying to get Phil out of town because he doesn’t “work with them?” Well I think that’s unfair to say but I believe that could be a few media members intentions.
Needless to say this would probably only be a select few and in all honesty their opinions don’t matter when it comes to decisions made by the Penguins.
Phil is not the most talkative guy or most outgoing but he’s a winner. He gets you those points when they matter most. He is a great playoff performer and shows up during games.
What Matters Most
Kessel is a average joe with a crazy wristshot. That’s what the talk of him was when he vot here. So why should we expect anything more then what we might do as a professional hockey player. He might not try hard in practice and he might eat an occasional hotdogs but who cares. He is one of the most skilled players on the ice night in and night out. If you trade Kessel then you trade an amazing player that will get you goals and help produce goals when the time matters most.
Kessel is coming off a 92 point season which is his best season as a pro. That’s more points then Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Brad Marchand, Steven Stamkos, and John Tavares. Kessel produces at an extremely high rate and he proved everyone that this past season. He was said to have had a bad post season but he produced 9 points in 12 games played. That’s a really good down year of production in the playoffs. Hes a constant playoff performer year in and year out.
Phil’s a winner and hes shown that over the past two seasons. He was a huge catalyst for the Pens winning back to back championships. In those 49 playoffs games he produced 45 points for the Penguins. He plays his best hockey when it matters most. He knows when to step his game up because all he wants to do is win.
After chaos was going on in the local Pittsburgh media General Manager of the Penguins Jim Rutherford did a interview with Piere Lebrun. He talked about how he thinks that the whole situation got blown out of proportion. He said that he doesn’t plan on trading Kessel this offseason. He also went onto say that he understands both Sullivans and Kessels outlooks on where he plays.
Kessel seems to be a guy Rutherford doesn’t plan on trading anytime soon. But and this is a big BUT Kessel could be dealt anyways. Rutherford was quoted saying something along the lines of everyone except for Crosby, Malkin, and Murray could be available for the right price. Now should we believe this? Probably not. I dont expect anything crazy when it comes to the big names being trade like Kessel, Letang or even Hornqvist.
There will be trades and other moves this offseason but if you’re the Penguins why mess with success. You won back to back cups and made it to game 6 of the second round of the playoffs. Try again with the roster that you have and make a few tweaks to it. You got the right path now you just have to follow it.
Rutherford knows what hes doing and for that I’m comfortable. He is one of the best trade negotiators in the league and that should calm people down. He will not make a move just for the sake of it. He will figure out how a move will make his team better for today and for down the line.
Why Do It?
The last thing that I’ll leave you with is why do it? Well the only logical reason I could see is both because of the cap concern. But also the coach and players relationship is to far gone and Kessel wants out. Maybe if Kessels cap is freed up then the Penguins will land John Tavares? Of course this is all hypothetical nonsense.
Why Not To Do It
Well that’s listed above in the article many times over. But he’s a huge producer on this team and helps them win alot. He helped them win in the past and he will in the future when the team needs him most. Trading Kessel will make you worse then what you are now. There is no reason to trade a player with the caliber of Kessel because the coach doesn’t like him.
We all work with people we don’t like but guess what we deal with it don’t we? We deal with it because we have to because that person does their job and in this case this person is one of the best in the world at doing their job. So you stick with it and learn to embrace it so you can be successful.
This is a case where a player and coach need to sit down face to hash things out. Kessel is to good of a player to get rid of because of this. He is to loved by the fans to start a outrage by trading him. Kessel is a average joe with skates and a crazy shot. The man is the man and a thrill on the ice. Phil Kessel is still a two time Stanley Cup Champion and more importantly he is still a Pittsburgh Penguin!