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Looking like Phil is staying after all

June 11, 2019, 3:40 PM ET [82 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
According to Jim Rutherford it is likely that Phil Kessel will remain a Pittsburgh Penguin

“You have to understand that he has a no-trade clause and a lot of leverage,” Rutherford said. “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 point, it looks to me that he will return at this season. That’s how I’m proceeding moving forward.”

It looks like the Penguins will be forced to keep a good player. A lot of times NTC”s are viewed as something that hurts the teams. In this particular case it helped the Penguins from making a trade that would not improve the team. There aren’t a lot of avenues for the Penguins to explore with a Kessel trade and I can’t imagine many of them would actually improve the team.

Some might view this as Rutherford sending a message to Kessel. I’m not so sure that message is going to be received. One of the big reasons I think coaches and management grow frustrated by Phil is because he beats to his own drum. He is very consistent in the things he does and no matter what variables are thrown his way. Regardless of what jersey he is wearing, who is coaching him, or who his linemates are he will suit up and play the same way. In Toronto the media was horrendous to him and he just kept playing through it. I don’t think he has any problem at all returning to the Penguins and doing his thing. He’s going to stay the course. It’s what he does. The things that annoy management about Kessel are why he has the advantage in this situation. As an avid poker player Phil knows the leverage of the situation and he is going to play it. A lot of players might be uncomfortable returning to this environment. I don’t think Phil is one of those players.

Advantage, Kessel.

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