The Pittsburgh Penguins’ Stanley Cup celebration hadn’t even started when rumors regarding Phil Kessel’s future with the team began popping up. The belief was that the Penguins might consider moving the 29-year-old Kessel and his annual $8 million salary cap hit to give the organization some needed cap space.
Some of those rumors were put to rest when GM Jim Rutherford stated he doesn’t want to confirm a certain player will or won’t get traded during their career, but a Kessel trade was one he doesn’t see happening right now.
What does Kessel think about being at the center of trade rumors yet again? He doesn’t seem to mind very much. He spoke with TSN and offered his thoughts on the latest rumors.
“(Trades) happen all of the time. I’ve been traded before and if I get traded again, it is what it is. It’s a business. You’ve got to look at it like that. If I’m somewhere else, I’ll play hard for them.”
Spoken like a player who has already dealt with extended periods of trade rumors before being moved to a new team. Kessel has already been at the center of two trades in his career, first going from the Boston Bruins to the Toronto Maple Leafs before then going from the Maple Leafs to the Penguins.
At this stage of his career, Kessel understands what many hockey fans need to learn. Hockey is a sport many love, but at its core it’s still a business. Players are traded and moved between teams all the time and for a variety of reasons. The sooner a fan can accept that fact, the easier big trades are to understand.
Kessel may not be moved this summer or even in the next year or two, but a future trade is still very much in the cards for the Penguins and that’s a fact he’s not bothered by.