NHL trade news: Penguins deal Phil Kessel to Coyotes for Alex Galchenyuk, prospect

The Coyotes have been trying to make moves this offseason and this one certainly qualifies as a big one.

Pittsburgh dealt Phil Kessel, a 2021 fourth-round pick and Dane Birks to Arizona, the Penguins announced Saturday.

Arizona has sent center Alex Galchenyuk and prospect Pierre-Olivier Joseph to the Penguins in return. There has been no money retained in the deal.

“First and foremost, I want to thank Phil Kessel for his contributions to the Penguins,” Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said in a press release. “He was a key component to our success in winning back-to-back Stanley Cups. We couldn’t have done it without him, and for that, we are grateful. With that being said, we are excited to welcome a young, skilled player in Alex, and add depth to our defense with first-round draft pick Pierre-Olivier Joseph.”

The Penguins have reportedly been trying to move Kessel for the better part of a couple of years.

The 31-year-old has three years remaining on the eight-year, $64 million deal he signed with the Maple Leafs in 2014 and the Penguins believe that money could be better used elsewhere.

Pittsburgh reportedly had a deal done with the Wild to send Kessel to Minnesota, but the winger nixed that agreement and remained with Pittsburgh for a short time.

Players like Kessel don’t wind up on the market very often as he has averaged 63 points per season in his career and has eclipsed 80 points four times.

He was a part of two Stanley Cup winning teams with the Penguins, but they underachieved last season and Rutherford wants to make some serious changes to the roster.

Kessel will likely be the absolute biggest name on the move.

As for Arizona, it has been linked to several big free agents, though it is unclear if it has an actual shot to get any of them.

The trade for Kessel, though, is a surefire way to land an impact player and the Coyotes are very happy to get this deal done.