All teams wishing to rebuild often face tough decisions no matter the sporting platform at hand. Those decisions often include trading fan favorite players who formerly operated as instrumental pieces for the team’s prior success. With the Pittsburgh Penguins looking to re–amp their roster to surround Sidney Crosby for the upcoming years. the team said goodbye to Phil Kessel

Despite recent allegations professing disagreements between the Pittsburgh front office and Kessel diminished the relationship between the two sides, Kessel remains responsible for Pittsburgh’s impressive success during this decade, including back–to–back championships. Most notably, Kessel helped the contributed greatly to the Penguins 2016 Stanley Cup Final victory  over the San Jose Sharks, as Kessel lead the team with playoff scoring during the run and nearly won the Conn Smyth Trophy after his incredible campaign. Aside from his playoff contributions, Kessel also played as Pittsburgh’s “iron man,” as he broke the team’s record for most consecutive games started with 320 this March.

Kessel now finds himself departing Pittsburgh for the Arizona Coyotes. Kessel comes over alongside a fourth–round pick and defensemen Dane Birks while Pittsburgh gets center Alan Galchenyuk and defensemen Pierre-Olivier Joseph. The Coyotes missed the playoffs last year after only winning 39 games. Kessel offers not only a veteran presence for the Arizona squad, but also much needed offensive assistance as the team looks to “get over the hump” next year.

“I’m just coming in to do what I do best and help them win as many games as possible,” said the new Coyote after the trade news broke. “They’re an up-and-coming team with a lot of great pieces. I’m coming in to help them take the next step.”

Kessel and the Coyotes start next season this October, as Kessel remains a likely candidate to receive a warm welcome at PPG Paints Arena once he returns for the first time as an opponent since the 2014–15 season.

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