The Pittsburgh Penguins tried to trade Phil Kessel last month to the Minnesota Wild, but after the enigmatic forward wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause the deal fell apart. Now, in conversation with The Athletic’s Josh Yohe (subscription required), Penguins GM Jim Rutherford admits that Kessel will likely play for Pittsburgh next season.
Kessel, 31, has three years remaining on his contract with the Penguins but holds a no-trade clause that limits the teams he can be sent to. In fact, Kessel submits a list of just eight teams he would accept trades to, and given his history in certain markets that likely leaves only a few real options for Rutherford. With such a huge leverage advantage, it’s easy to see why the Penguins GM is resigned to having his star forward remain next year. There was no use in trading him without getting something in return, as even with his ’problem child’ persona—tenuous as that moniker may be.