Add another name to the ever-growing list of players on the NHL trade block this summer. The Arizona Coyotes are working to revamp their lineup in what is most likely another rebuild. We already know that star defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is on the block, and now you can add forward Phil Kessel.
NHL Rumors: Coyotes looking to trade Phil Kessel
The 33 year-old winger can still produce and would give any offensively challenged team a boost. Last season, he scored 20 goals and 43 points in 56 games for the Yotes. This was a sigh relief for Kessel and Arizona after a disastrous 2019-20 campaign where he recorded only 38 points in 70 contests.
According to David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, Arizona paid out his bonus on July 1st. That means he’s only owed $1 million in actual salary which could be perfect for some teams with cap space, but are also looking to be fiscally sound. A team like the Detroit Red Wings could consume the entire cap hit in a trade if Arizona is willing to add a sweetener. This is the least likely option.
The likely alternative is for the Coyotes to retain some of his cap hit in order to facilitate a trade and receive a late first round pick from a contender. There are many teams who believe they are player like Kessel away from contention but have limited cap space.
Phil Kessel will be a UFA next season, so he’s an early rental. Would the Islanders give up their late first round pick for him if Arizona retains 50%? Lou Lamoriello is cap strapped and is already likely to lose key pieces to free agency like Kyle Palmieri and Casey Cizikas.
Duncan Keith open to Seattle trade
Duncan Keith has asked for a trade in order to be closer to his family in British Columbia. The 37 year-old defender has earned that right, and there’s reported interest from both parties to go to the Edmonton Oilers.
Kurt Leavins who covers the team for the Edmonton Journal is indicating that the Seattle Kraken are a leading candidate for his services.
While nothing is done, there are 2 North-Western teams who Keith would likely waive his no-trade clause for: Edmonton and Seattle. But the Oilers appear to be the front runners. In part, that’s because the Oilers are way closer to winning and have a stronger supporting cast than an expansion team would typically have (Vegas aside).Edmonton Journal
With Ron Francis’ penchant for building from his defense out, this is a very possible scenario.
Detroit Red Wings offseason players
The Detroit Red Wings have almost $50 million in cap space per CapFriendly. Almost anyone who covers the NHL believes they will weaponize it for future assets in either picks or prospects. They may also leverage to go after players that could be left unprotected in the Seattle Expansion Draft.
Two young defensemen fit that bill. Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba and St. Louis Blues’ Vince Dunn.
Keep your eyes on Steve Yzerman this summer. Many believe he will have a transformative offseason ahead.