Earlier this week, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook wrote about the possibility of the Penguins eventually trading Phil Kessel.
The column raised some eyebrows because, after all, the Penguins have won back-to-back Stanley Cups, and Kessel has been a big contributor during both championship runs.
On Thursday, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford was asked about the possibility of trading his all-star winger, and he didn’t sound too convinced about the possibility of moving him.
“Phil Kessel‘s an important part of the Penguins,” Rutherford said in a radio interview with 93.7 The Fan, per the Pittsburgh Tribune. “He gets a lot of points. He scores big goals. He sets up big goals. The more impact players that you have, like we have, the better chance you have of winning.
“He’s an important part. I don’t want to sit here and say that a certain player’s not going to get traded at some point in his career. I mean, Phil already did. But that’s not something that I foresee happening right now.”
Obviously, no one expected Rutherford to come out and admit he’d be willing to trade the 29-year-old away, but he didn’t really dodge the question either.
If the team wants to trade him away, they have plenty of time to do so, as Kessel has five years left on his contract at a cap hit of $6.8 million, which might be a steal given the amount of money star players have signed for this off-season.