PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – The Penguins shook the landscape of the National Hockey League by trading for Toronto Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel on the opening day of free agency.
To find out how Kessel will fit in with his new team, Starkey and Mueller talked to Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun to get an inside report on Kessel.
“I would just say that the gas gets pushed more when scoring opportunities are opening up, as opposed to going back into the neutral zone,” Zeisberger told us. “This guy is never going to win a Selke Trophy and I don’t think you want him to win a Selke Trophy, but he’s got to buy into the system.”
As Zeisberger points out, Kessel isn’t known for his defensive play, but his offensive play is matched by very few in the league.
“I really do think the potential is there if he buys in, for this to be a really special year for Phil Kessel,” Zeisberger said. “I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that this guy, a year from now, we’re talking about a Maurice Richard Trophy winner.”
There have been criticisms of Kessel about his conditioning and his reputation of a coach killer, but Zeisberger gives us a closer look at the real person and player the Pens just acquired.
“I don’t think he’s a bad person. I think that Phil is a little bit socially awkward. I think that Phil probably is better suited not playing in a hotbed like Toronto where he’s in the spotlight at any and all times…I think that in Pittsburgh when you have strong personalities like Geno and Sid, Fleury and guys like that, Chris Kunitz, Phil won’t have to be.”
Click the audio link below to hear more from Zeisberger on the Kessel trade and what he thinks of the return Toronto received.