AP NEWS

Trade rumors surrounding Penguins’ Phil Kessel intensify

June 20, 2018 GMT

Tuesday was a busy day for the Phil Kessel trade rumor mill. The Athletic reported that a trade of Kessel wouldn’t exactly be a one-way street.

In other words, it may not just be the Penguins trying to move Kessel because of salary or clearing space for Daniel Sprong or a disconnect with Mike Sullivan.

The outlet stated Kessel may not be opposed to a trade himself. However, a preferred destination, Arizona, is off the table because the Coyotes told Pittsburgh that Kessel makes too much money. Apparently, the Coyotes don’t want to get much above the salary floor.

What a way to live, huh?

ArizonaSports.com followed up that story by saying Arizona is saving up for a slew of restricted free agents, including Clayton Keller, Brendan Perlini, Christian Dvorak, Christian Fischer and Jakob Chychrun.

Mark Madden also said on his 105.9 FM radio show that “Phil still wants out. Still wants the Penguins to trade him. He just doesn’t like playing for Mike Sullivan. But the Penguins are backing off trying to trade Kessel because it’s difficult to replace 92 points.”

Sportsnet’s John Shannon joined the conversation, telling 93.7 FM that “I will not be surprised to know that Phil Kessel will not be wearing the Pittsburgh black and gold by October.

“There are a lot of teams that need Phil’s goal scoring right now.” Shannon said. “Not surprised to see a team that has enough cap space that can take on his contract be in play.”

He pointed to the Islanders and the Wild as prospects.

Then there was this nebulous mention on the station, referencing an non-specific report from Shannon’s colleague — Elliotte Friedman — bringing up a rumor that Kessel may have been dangled out to the Predators in exchange for Ryan Ellis and others.

I know, Kessel fans. The Penguins aren’t considering a Kessel trade at all. He’s 100 percent happy. And “the media is just trying to run Phil out of town.” Save your emails. I’ll just write it for you.