In the wise words of Michael Scott of The Office, “Well, well, well, how the turntables...”
When it comes to Phil Kessel’s situation in Pittsburgh, it would appear that those very turntables have turned.
Less than three weeks after a potential trade involving ‘Phil the Thrill’ and Jason Tucker of the Minnesota Wild reportedly fell apart, it would appear that Kessel likely won’t be going anywhere before next season.
"I expect Kessel will probably play for Pittsburgh next season,” Pittsburgh’s general manager Jim Rutherford told Josh Yohe of The Athletic on Tuesday.
"You have to understand that he has a (partial) no-trade clause and a lot of leverage,” Rutherford continued, according to Yohe. “In situations like this, it usually doesn't work out so well for the team. That's just the way it is. So at this point, it looks to me that he will return... this season. That's how I'm proceeding moving forward."
The 31-year-old hasn’t missed a game since being acquired by the Penguins in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1, 2015. He followed up a career-high 92-point regular season in 2017-18 with an 82-point campaign last year.
After winning two Stanley Cups in his first two seasons with the team, Kessel was pretty quiet while Pittsburgh was swept in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by the New York Islanders in April. He finished with a goal and an assist in the series.
He’s in the middle of an eight-year, $64-million contract that comes to an end at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season.
Kessel isn’t the only Penguin that will likely be sticking around following the team’s disastrous postseason exit.