It’s official, the Toronto Maple Leafs have traded forward Phil Kessel to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Going back to the Maple Leafs in the deal are Kasperi Kapanen, Scott Harrington and an unconfirmed draft pick that is likely to be a first-round pick. The trade was first reported by Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet during the the network’s live free agent coverage.
Rumors about a deal involving the 27-year-old have been swirling for quite some time. He was a well sought-after skater that can make a significant impact on any team in the league, making a plethora of teams interested in his services.
Kessel has tallied 247 goals and 273 assists in 668 games, giving him an average of 0.78 points per game. He still has seven years remaining on a contract that pays $8 million per year. It’s expect that the Maple Leafs will retain some of that salary.
In Pittsburgh, Kessel will be playing with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. For a pure goal scorer like Kessel, that type of linemate should prove more than beneficial for the All-Star winger.
The Hockey Writers will have more as this story develops. And don’t forget to stay up to date with our 2015 NHL Free Agent tracker.
-Full deal below, courtesy of Bob McKenzie:
Kessel, Tyler Biggs, Tim Erixon and 2nd in 2016 for Kapanen, Harrington, Spaling, 1st and 3rd picks in 2016. TOR retains $1.25M/year.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2015
-Conditions of the first-round pick the Leafs received, per James Mirtle:
Here are the conditions on the first-round pick the Leafs get in the Kessel trade. pic.twitter.com/PGnXxrG2Jy
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) July 1, 2015
-The first-round pick sent to Toronto is lottery protected, according to Mirtle and Pierre LeBrun.
As @mirtle said, first-round pick the Leafs got from Pitt is lottery-protected. If Pens miss the playoffs, first-rounder becomes 2017 pick
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 1, 2015
Drew Weber is a columnist for the San Jose Sharks at The Hockey Writers. He previously wrote articles and appeared on podcasts for Teal Town USA (formerly Pucknology) and contributed briefly to Fear the Fin. You can follow him on Twitter at @puck_over_glass.