In what apparently had become an NHL rite of summer, the Phil Kessel trade rumors came out in full bloom for the Pittsburgh Penguins again this year, albeit a little earlier than last year with the team being swept by the New York Islanders in the first round of the playoffs.
Having spent the last four seasons in the Steel City, it almost seemed inevitable that Kessel would be traded this summer, given his comments on locker clean-out day. He seemed to know it was coming and welcome it.
Armed with a no-trade clause that he used to block a trade to the Minnesota Wild, Kessel finally agreed to a deal that sent him to the Arizona Coyotes, along with prospect Dane Birks and a fourth-round draft in 2021. In exchange, the Penguins received forward Alex Galchenyuk and defensive prospect Pierre-Olivier Joseph.