Kessel No Trade Clause Contains Eight Teams

The Phil Kessel drama continue to heat up.

There is no doubt that he is an excellent hockey player and would immediately contribute to any team that he joins.

The real challenge with Kessel is his contract.

The biggest problem is the $8M/year cap hit through 2022 that is very problematic in a hard cap league.  You can’t pick up stars like the Yankees and just pay through the nose for taxes.

The second problem is that he has a limited no trade clause.

According to Bob McKenzie on TSN, those teams include:

Kessel’s limited NTC is believed to include eight teams he can be traded to. Prior to the trade deadline, TSN reported those eight teams were believed to be: Boston; Chicago; Los Angeles; Minnesota; Montreal; New York Rangers; Philadelphia; and Pittsburgh.

But that doesn’t preclude the possibility of the Leafs finding a suitable deal with a team not on the list and asking the player to amend the list. Also, with each new contract year, it’s believed a new list can be submitted by the player so the list can change from year to year. The contract year expires June 30.

ESPN believes that it would be easy to trade Kessel:

If you think for a moment that the Maple Leafs would ever have a hard time dealing away Phil Kessel because of his contract, think again.

“Are you kidding me?” said one rival Western Conference team executive a few days ago. “If they ever auctioned him off there would be a lot of interest regardless of that contract. The guy can score. It’s hard to find those guys.”

It’s believed the Leafs have already heard from a number of teams that have made it clear, if Kessel was indeed in play, they’d be interested. Still, I have to think if and when Toronto went that route — and I’m not saying it will for sure — it would be more of a June thing where you can include more teams in the process.

But not so fast.

When you look at individual teams, the decision is much murkier.

Ron Hextall, on The Hockey Writers, believes that the Timing and Fit don’t match.  But more specifically, it just won’t work for the Flyers due to the cost:

Heading into next season, the Flyers have $63.83M already committed to 11 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 1 goalie (not including Chris Pronger). With the cap scheduled to be around $71M, that leaves them with $7.17M to re-sign Michael Del Zotto, add two forwards, and a backup goalie. That’s possible (and there will likely be some bodies and cap dollars departing from the crowded defense), but it doesn’t leave much room to improve the roster.

To make Kessel in Philadelphia a possibility, Philadelphia would have to dump cap dollars to accommodate him. Considering the deep pockets of Leafs’ ownership, they could take on the likes of Andrew MacDonald or Vinny Lecavalier to get a deal done, but it would come at a cost. The Flyers would likely have to pony up more valuable assets to convince the Leafs compared to a deal with a team that could better absorb Kessel’s contract.

I look forward to seeing this story unfold as we move through the offseason.

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