In a blockbuster deal that’s been rumored for some time now, the Toronto Maple Leafs have traded winger Phil Kessel to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The return is a couple of well-regarded prospects, forward Kasperi Kapanen (22nd overall in 2014) and defenseman Scott Harrington (54th overall in 2011), plus a conditional first-round draft pick, a third-round draft pick (previously New Jersey’s) and forward Nick Spaling.
The Leafs also sent the Penguins defenseman Tim Erixon, forward Tyler Biggs and a conditional second-round draft pick.
Much has been said and written about Kessel’s time in Toronto, not all positive. But in Pittsburgh, he’ll be able to skate with two of the best centers in the world, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The 27-year-old played mostly with Tyler Bozak as his center with the Leafs.
Kessel, one of the NHL’s premier scoring wingers, has 247 goals in 668 career NHL games.
The Leafs were reportedly forced to eat $1.25 million of Kessel’s annual salary, leaving the Pens with a $6.75 million cap hit through 2021-22.