By: Casey Shea


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The NHL free agency frenzy is underway and there are many questions about what the Penguins will do to retool for next season.

The Penguins have been vocal about their need of a top 6 winger and they acquired one via trade this afternoon.

According to the Penguins, Pittsburgh has sent Nick Spaling, prospects Scott Harrington and Kasperi Kapanen and their 2016 third round draft picks to the Maple Leafs for Phil Kessel, Tyler Biggs, Tim Erixon.

“I’m very excited about what happened today,” GM Jim Rutherford said. “We worked on this deal with Toronto for over a month. We set out this off-season to bring in some more skill on the wing and some more speed and I certainly think  we covered that by adding Phil Kessel.”

However, should the Penguins qualify for the playoffs this season, Toronto would also get a first round pick. Pittsburgh would also get a second-round pick in the deal.

If the Penguins miss the playoffs, the Maple Leafs would receive Pittsburgh’s 2017 first round pick in exchange for their own second round pick.

If the Penguins miss the playoffs for the next two years, Toronto would receive Pittsburgh’s 2017 second round pick. In this scenario, the Penguins would not get a pick back from Toronto.

In 82 games last year, Kessel racked up 25 goals and 61 points on an awful Maple Leafs team. During his career, he’s had five 30-goal seasons. During the shortened lockout season of 2012-13, he scored 20. So, it’s feasible he’d have a sixth 30-goal season on his resume.

Durability doesn’t seem to be an issue either as he hasn’t missed a regular season game in five years.

Kessel’s contract runs through the 2021-22 season with an annual cap hip of $8 million. However, it appears the Maple Leafs will be retaining a portion of Kessel’s salary.

Here’s everything that has happened so far today:

12:31 p.m. Update – Backup goaltender Thomas Greiss has signed a two-year, $3 million deal with the New York Islanders. Greiss appeared in 20 games for the Penguins last season. During that time, he posted a 9-6-3 record with a 2.59 GAA and a .908 save percentage.

Defenseman Taylor Chorney has signed a 1-year, $700,000 deal with the Washington Capitals.

12:38 p.m. Update – Defenseman Paul Martin has signed a four-year deal with the San Jose Sharks. The annual cap hit on the deal is $4.85 million. Martin was a workhorse for the Penguins, especially down the stretch when salary cap constraints left them with only five defensemen.

Martin had three goals and 17 assists in 74 games last season.

12:47 p.m. Update –  Blake Comeau has signed a three-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche with an annual cap hit of $2.4 million. Comeau scored 16 goals and 31 points in 61 games for the Penguins last season.

1 p.m. Update: The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired Phil Kessel from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

According to Nick Kypreos, the Penguins have traded Scott Harrington, Kasperi Kapanen and a first round draft pick to Toronto for Kessel.

1:25 p.m. Update: Steve Downie has signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Coyotes. Downie had 14 goals and 14 assists in 72 games with the Penguins.

1:46 p.m. Update: The Penguins have signed defenseman David Warsofsky to a 1-year deal.

1:59 p.m. Update: Jayson Megna has signed with the New York Rangers.

3:08 p.m. Update:  The Penguins have signed Sergei Plotnikov to a one-year, entry-level contract.

3:32 p.m. Update:  The Pens have signed forward Conor Sheary to a two-year entry-level contract.

3:45 p.m. Update:  Kael Mouillierat is signed to a one-year contract with the Penguins.

3:51 p.m. Update:  Forward Kevin Porter is signed by the Pens to a one-year, two-way contract.

4:50 p.m. Update:  The Pens signed Steve Oleksy to a one-year contract. Jim Rutherford also addressed interest in Brandon Saad:

Stay With KDKA.com For More Updates Throughout The Day

Join The Conversation On The KDKA Facebook Page
Stay Up To Date, Follow KDKA On Twitter