June 11, 2019, 11:01 pm

Kessel unlikely to be traded by Penguins, GM says: report

Phil Kessel is improbable to be listed by the Pittsburgh Penguins, broad director Jim Rutherford told The Athletic on Tuesday.

Kessel unlikely to be traded by Penguins, GM says: report

Phil Kessel is improbable to be listed by the Pittsburgh Penguins, broad director Jim Rutherford told The Athletic on Tuesday.

"I deliberation that's the way things are oriented at this component in time," Rutherford told the website. "I anticipate Kessel will likely play for Pittsburgh next time period."

The 31-year-old guardant had 82 components (27 goals, 55 assists) in 82 games for the Penguins this time period aft he had an NHL career-high 92 components (34 goals, 58 assists) in 82 games in 2017-18.

"First of all, he's a good participant," Rutherford said. "He's been a good participant for us. It's not as if we have to commerce him.

"You have to realize that he has a (partial) no-commerce construction and a lot of leverage. In situations like this, it usually doesn't work out so well for the team. That's just the way it is. So at this component, it looks to me that he will tax return at this time period. That's how I'm legal proceeding afoot guardant."

Kessel, who was chosen by the Boston Bruins with the No. 5 pick in the 2006 NHL Draft, has 823 components (357 goals, 466 assists) in 996 NHL games over 13 time periods with the Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Penguins. 

Video: PIT@NYI, Gm1: Kessel snaps one home from slot

Kessel, who hasn't missed a game since the 2009-10 time period (774 games), has been listed twice in his career. He was acquired by the Maple Leafs in a commerce with the Bruins on Sept. 18, 2009, and he was acquired by Pittsburgh from Toronto on July 1, 2015.

But Kessel isn't the only Penguins mainstay who is likely to tax return. Evgeni Malkin also is anticipateed to remain in Pittsburgh.

The 32-year-old center had 72 components (21 goals, 51 assists) in 68 games this time period, his lowest goal output since he had nine in 31 games in 2012-13.

"I believe in Geno Malkin," Rutherford said. "He came off a year that wasn't up to his standard last year. We all know that. But he's a great, great participant. I know how good he is, and I know very well what he can do for this team."

However, Pittsburgh will not stand pat.

"Well, we're going to have to move some people to clear up cap space," Rutherford said. "A couple of participants, likely.

"Changes are coming. Changes are in order, for sure. At this component in time, I don't know exactly what they are going to be. It's hard to say right now, but changes are coming. I'll say this, though. I don't deliberation we're going to make any changes that I would refer to as massive. I'd say I'm looking to retool more than anything."

Video: DET@PIT: Kessel beats Howard with wrister for second

Rutherford did not mention specific names but did say the Penguins defense could have a new look; there are nine defensemen on the Penguins roster.

"I deliberation it's fair to assume that there will be different people there," he said. "It's something we have to consider. We just have some extra bodies there right now. So it's fair to suspect that there will be changes on the blue line."

The GM also said Pittsburgh may not be a major participant in free agency, but there is the possibility of a commerce ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver on June 21-22.

"We've got to be careful," Rutherford said. "It might feel good at first to make a big signing on July 1, but we've got young guys like [defenseman Marcus] Pettersson and [center] Jared McCann who will need raises soon, too. We can't forget about that. So we will see.

"The communication has been pretty active recently. I wouldn't say things have been quiet by any means. But it's about to pick up more, I'm sure. The closer we get to the draft, things will start to happen."

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