Phil Kessel sounds as if he expects to be with the Pittsburgh Penguins next season. Matt Cullen isn't so sure.
After the Penguins were swept in a best-of-7 series by the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference First Round, the futures of the veteran forwards in Pittsburgh have come into question.
Kessel, who is under contract through the 2021-22 season, has been part of trade speculation for this offseason. Cullen will consider retirement after playing his 21st NHL season.
"I think there's a lot of good players in here," Kessel said Thursday. "So there's no reason to say that it can't continue."
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford did not mention Kessel on Thursday at Pittsburgh's locker cleanout day but said he would be willing to trade a high-profile player if necessary.
Kessel and Cullen each won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017. Kessel has been in Pittsburgh since being acquired in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1, 2015; Cullen signed a one-year contract on July 1 to return to the Penguins after playing for the Minnesota Wild last season.