Phil Kessel’s potential trade has been tabled for the time being.
While speaking Monday on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford confirmed the Kessel vetoed a recent trade and that the team is no longer shopping him.
“In Phil’s situation, He was just part of a decision … where we were trying to retool and we had a chance to get a good player, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he has to be traded,” Rutherford said. “He’s been a really good player for us, We wouldn’t have won the Cups without him. He’s an impact player, he will be for a few more years. So we’ll see how that plays out.”
Rutherford didn’t name the team Kessel turned down, though it had been reported that the Wild pitched a proposal to the Penguins back in May.
The Penguins traded Olli Maatta to the Blackhawks for Dominik Kahun and a draft pick on Saturday, and Rutherford noted that while he isn’t pushing to trade big name players, he is willing to listen to offers from prospective trade partners.
“The biggest thing from a team point of view you can’t have the player controlling the trade because if you do it’s not going to work out for the team so at this point and time I view it that Phil will return with the team,” Rutherford said.
“I’m not actively pushing to trade him at this point. If someone comes along with a deal that makes sense, we’ll take a look at it, just like most of the other players.”
Kessel, 31, capped his fourth year in Pittsburgh with 27 goals and 55 assists last season. He has 357 goals in 996 career games over his 13 NHL seasons split between with the Bruins, Maples Leafs and Penguins.
Pittsburgh posted a 44-26-12 record in 2018-19 before being swept out of the first round of the playofss by the Islanders, with Rutherford saying afterwards that “every possibility is on the table” this summer.