Toronto Maple Leafs ship off Phil Kessel, ending a tumultuous seven-year marriage between the two.
With the NHL Free Agent market just two three hours old, one of the two big names for the Toronto Maple Leafs was moved out for a better opportunity with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Kessel, Tyler Biggs, Tim Erixon and 2nd in 2016 for Kapanen, Harrington, Spaling, 1st and 3rd picks in 2016. TOR retains $1.25M/year.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2015
With the move, it ends one of the NHL’s drama-filled stories in one of the most recognized hockey market. Also, some respectability may now be coming the city’s way. A laughing stock of the NHL for the past couple of seasons, Maple Leafs fans could have hope and remove the bags from their heads at games.
The Penguins will be getting a bonafide goal-scorer they have been searching for. To go along with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Kessel will add another threat that teams will need to account for each time they play Pittsburgh.
Last season, Kessel played in 82 games for the fourth time in the past five years. He only played in 48 games due to the NHL Lockout in the 2012-2013 season. He scored 61 points (25 goals, 36 assists, but carried a -34 goal rating. Then again, that was while playing as a Maple Leaf, so you connect the dots.
To go along with his consistency on the ice, Kessel has scored 30 + goals in five of his nine years in the NHL.
However, Kessel has been faced criticism during his time in Toronto. He came off as not friendly to the media and has appeared out of shape. Combine these two and Kessel had a target painted on his back. It seemed like the only way to get from under the rug was by way of trade.
But the Penguins will be on the hook as far as paying. Kessel’s current contract has seven years remaining, at a cap hit of $8 million per year. However, as part of the trade, the Maple Leafs agreed to pay $1.25 million of his salary per year.
The Penguins will be getting defenseman right wing Tyler Biggs, defenseman Tim Erixon, and a second-round pick in 2016.