PITTSBURGH (KDKA)– Rumors have already been swirling about the fate of Phil Kessel in Pittsburgh.
Now, as the offseason looms, media outlets in Canada are projecting that the star will be on the move come the Summer.
Canadian sports television outlet TSN releases a yearly “trade bait” board, in which players rumored to be traded in the offseason are ranked.
As of Friday, Kessel holds the number one spot on the list, which is updated periodically until the start of the Summer break.
“TRADE BAIT: If Jim Rutherford is going to blow things up in Pittsburgh, Phil Kessel is the first and most likely to go. That’s why the two-time #StanleyCup champ is No. 1 on the first #TSNHockey Trade Bait board of the spring compiled by @frank_seravalli”
Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta, who has been marked as an odd-man out in Pittsburgh, is also on the list at 13th.
Both players still have three years left on their deals with the Pens, with Kessel chewing up $6.8 million of cap space each season and Maatta $4.08 million a year.
Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang are not on the first edition of the board for 2019. The duo were rumored to be potential trade chips following the first round series sweep at the hands of the Islanders. Penguins owner Mario Lemieux has noted he would rather not see Malkin be traded, but by the way General Manager Jim Rutherford spoke at locker clean out, anything is on the table moving forward.