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NHL Trade Rumors: Phil Kessel would accept trade to Pittsburgh

Rumors are that the Toronto Maple Leafs will look to deal winger Phil Kessel, who has a limited no trade clause. Pittsburgh is among the places that he hasn't blocked a trade to, but we analyze why such a deal probably isn't in the cards

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs are rumored to be exploring trading high scoring winger Phil Kessel. Kessel owns a very restrictive no-trade clause, he can only be dealt to 8 teams without his consent. Who would those 8 teams be? Cue Bobby Mac from TSN:

Kessel's limited NTC is believed to include eight teams he can be traded to. Prior to the trade deadline, TSN reported those eight teams were believed to be: Boston; Chicago; Los Angeles; Minnesota; Montreal; New York Rangers; Philadelphia; and Pittsburgh.

And, whaddya know, the Penguins biggest off-season goal is to add a top-6 forward.

Could it work?

kesselpens

(screenshot via General Fanager)

See those "..." at the end? That's because his contract goes until 2021-22, when he'll be age 34, still carrying a $8.0 million cap hit.

Further, a trade wouldn't just be Nick Spaling + Rob Scuderi + Brian Dumoulin + a 2nd round pick. (Also, you ever notice how bad trade proposals always have that 2nd round pick tacked on?) Toronto would be looking for real value, just look at how productive Kessel has been over the past 4 seasons.

kesselpens2

Unfortunately for the Penguins, that $8.0 million cap hit is just too much to overcome. Kessel has been a productive player and would be in Pittsburgh, but his contract is a non-starter for a team that already has $25.45 million tied up to three players in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. The Pens will have to look elsewhere to fill their need of adding a top-6 winger.