Phil Kessel is a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins in a blockbuster July 1st trade.
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
Will get 95% of the press on this trade in the hours and days to come, and deservedly so. He's the best player. Here's a chart I've used before and will use again: a hockey-reference of the top winger point scorers from 2011-12 to current.
Only Alex Ovechkin has scored more points than Phil Kessel. And both of them were the only two in the Top 15 in scoring to have 1,000+ shots on goal.
The 24 year old has already bounced around a lot so far in his young career.
He's got some decent experience (93 career NHL games) 6'3, 200 pounds and was a former 1st round pick from 2009 who hasn't quite found his way yet. Sounds a lot like Simon Despres to me..
|Has a good frame, very good instincts for the game and solid bloodlines. Displays all-around upside and the ability to log a ton of minutes. Is relatively low-maintenance.
|Needs to gain strength to better handle National Hockey League forwards. Also must play with more of an edge to his game in order to maximize his full potential.
|Puck-moving defenseman with upside.
About the only thing impressive about Biggs is his size (6'3, 222) and his draft position- taken in the 1st round by Toronto in 2011.
At the same time, to be fair he's only 22 years old and wouldn't be the first big player to need a little more time to develop. He's not a great NHL prospect, but hey, the Penguins can use all the young forwards for the minor leagues that they can get their hands on. Maybe he puts something together with Pittsburgh, who knows. It would be a bonus at this point.
He's a good add for Toronto, because he only has 1 year left on his contact, unlike Rob Scuderi or Chris Kunitz, who both have 2 years remaining. Spaling was OK as a Penguin in lower-line duty, but not great as we put in our season recap here. At $2.2 million, the Penguins can't afford that for a player of Spaling's caliber. Better to use younger players like Oskar Sundqvist, Bryan Rust and Scott Wilson who are about NHL ready and much cheaper.
As a 2 year pro, Harrington didn't really slot into the Penguins opening night roster in 2015-16, despite the fact that Paul Martin and Christian Ehrhoff were let go. The former 2011 2nd round pick is a good prospect and good young defenseman but certainly not a great one like Olli Maatta or Derrick Pouliot.
Harrington also played with Toronto assistant GM Mark Hunter when both were with London of the OHL
The toughest piece of the deal to lose for Pittsburgh, Kapanen was the 2014 1st round pick and came over to the AHL for the final few games. Despite being a highly ranked prospect he fell to the Pens at #24, and he also had a mediocre WJC last year, with some questioning his play away from puck and overall strength. But skill like Kapanen's is a potential difference maker and he was certainly the best forward prospect the Penguins had.
Draft pick shuffle
The Pens lose their 1st and 3rd round picks in 2016.
Toronto trades back Pittsburgh's 2nd round in 2016 (they previously got it for Daniel Winnik).
Pretty decent shuffle, to get Kessel, parting with a 1st round pick is almost mandatory to make the value add up. Good work by the Penguins to at least get their 2nd round pick back and not totally fore-sake the draft. Remember, the Pens have an extra 2 third round picks (compensation for Dan Bylsma and John Hynes) so it's not too terrible to lose 1 3rd rounder in the big scheme of things.
15% salary retained
A gem of a deal for Pittsburgh - Toronto is keeping 15% ($1.2 million) for the duration of Kessel's contract (all 7 years).
The Pens take a $6.8 million cap hit for Kessel for those 7 years. It's a big chunk, but is more palatable than $8.0 million, that's for sure.