With all the moves that Arizona Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong has made up to this point, it is of no surprise that a Phil Kessel trade is rumored to be among them. From moving out contracts, taking contracts in and stacking a massive haul of draft picks, Armstrong has quickly set the foundation for the Coyotes rebuild.
Earlier in the offseason amongst the rumblings of Darcy Kuemper, Christian Dvorak and others being on the move, Kessel had been rumored to be among them. The rumors largely tied to Kessel’s relationship with former head coach Rick Tocchet noted how he may elect to utilize his modified no trade/no move clause on his contract and can decline a trade to eight teams.
The 33 year old 2 time Stanley Cup Champion winger had a bounce back season in 2021 posting 43 points over 56 game shortened season. Netting 20 goals and 23 assists, his overall performance on the ice was a vast improvement over the prior season that was his worst since his 2007-2008 season with the Boston Bruins.
Craig Morgan of AZ Coyotes Insider reported that there is not much interest in the league for Kessel but that the forward has requested a trade. While also mentioning the team is content with keeping him around and waiting to shop him, the thought process here obviously is a wait and see approach for both the Coyotes and the league. If Kessel continues to perform as he did last season, all the thoughts of his 2019-2020 season will vanish and his trade value will inevitably go up. Essentially it is a win-win for both parties that Kessel build off the previous season.
Typically when a player requests a trade, the finger pointing and blame game begins which a heavy negative focus on the player. While we see that playing out horribly in the Jack Eichel saga, in this situation a Phil Kessel trade makes all the sense in the world for both sides. There is absolutely no reason that Kessel should want to remain on the Coyotes when he can bring a veteran, point producing, championship caliber career resume to a possible contending team. On the Coyotes front, the opportunity to pad additional prospect capital and/or draft picks is too good of an opportunity to pass up.
If this offseason is any indication of how those negotiations will go, one can rest assured that GM Bill Armstrong is maximizing his returns right out the gate of this rebuild and the foundation is set for a solid start in the years to come.Embed from Getty Images