After weeks of rumors and denials it finally happened. The Arizona Coyotes have traded Alex Galchenyuk and P.O. Joseph to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Phil Kessel, defenseman Dane Birks, and a fourth-round pick.
Penguins have also included Dman Dane Birks in the Kessel trade. https://t.co/oX7N2hK3aK— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 30, 2019
Rumors had been circulating since Rick Tocchet signed on with the Coyotes as head coach. Tocchet had been an assistant coach with the Penguins and he developed a close relationship with Kessel. Tocchet seemed to get the best of Kessel, and since leaving Kessel’s relationship in Pittsburgh seems to have sour.
After last season the Arizona Coyotes desperately needed to add scoring. They finished 28th in goals for, and 26th on the power play. With Kessel the Coyotes have added a player who has scored over twenty goals since the 2008-09 season. In 996 games he has scored 357 goals and 466 assists.
Per Sportrac Kessel has three years left on his eight-year contact which will see him with a $6.8 million cap hit.
Included in the deal is defenseman Dane Birks. Birks spent most of last season in the ECHL, playing in 65 games with the Wheeling Nailers and recording a goal and thirteen assists. He also played one game in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barr/Scranton Penguins.
The Coyotes acquired Galchenyuk from the Montreal Canadiens last offseason for Max Domi. Galchenyuk would miss the start of the season with an injury and didn’t seem to live up Arizona’s expectations. He started the season at center before being moved to wing, and despite being advertised as a goal-scorer he tallied only 19 goals. Galchenyuk seemed poised for a rebound season, but the Coyotes seem to want a player with a better track record.
Arizona initially drafted P.O. Joseph 23rd overall in the first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Joseph was progressing well in his development in the QMJHL, with the most common criticism being a need to add weight. The Coyotes stocked up on defensive prospects over the past few drafts, making Joseph expendable.
Phil Kessel (to Arizona with a prospect and a pick) is a defensively very weak forward with a very good shot and a strong power-play impact. Alex Galchenyuk (to Pittsburgh with a prospect) is also defensively weak and very good on the power-play, but without the very good shot. pic.twitter.com/RkpexhwI9D— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) June 30, 2019