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Phil Kessel and His Impact on Two Cups

Photo Credit: PensBurgh

Phil Kessel Trade

On July 1, 2015, the Pittsburgh Penguins shocked the hockey world by trading for superstar winger Phil Kessel. The Penguins acquired him along with forward Tyler Biggs, defenseman Tim Erixon, and a 2016 second-round pick, who turned out to be Kasper Bjorkqvist. In return, the Toronto Maple Leafs received defenseman Scott Harrington, forwards Kasperi Kapanen, and a future draft pick compensation in the first and third-round.

Why the Trade Made Sense for Pittsburgh

One of the reasons the Penguins knew they had to make a trade was because their division rival Washington Capitals made a trade acquiring a great player as well in TJ Oshie from the St. Louis Blues in the summer of 2015 as well. The Penguins retaliated by bringing in Kessel. Also, the Penguins needed to add another elite scorer to compliment superstars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

His First Season (2015-2016)

In his first season with the Penguins, Kessel had 26 goals, and 33 assists, making up 59 points. He also helped deliver the Penguins fourth Stanley Cup Trophy in franchise history as they defeated the San Jose Sharks in six games.

HBK Line

When many people hear “HBK” they think of legendary wrestler Shawn Michaels. However, hockey fans and more specifically Penguins fans think of the legendary HBK line during their Stanley Cup run. Their third line consisted of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, and Kessel. In the postseason, they combined for 56 points as Hagelin had 16, Bonino’s 18, and Kessel’s 22.

Second Season (2016-2017)

Phil Kessel in 82 games once again, had another solid year logging 23 goals, and 47 assists for 70 total points. Once again he helped bring home a championship to Pittsburgh for their fifth Stanley Cup going back-to-back. The Penguins were the first team to win back-to-back since the Detroit Red Wings when they did it from 1997-1998.

Why the Penguins Won the Trade?

The Penguins won the trade for a multitude of reasons. Most importantly, Kessel helped do what he was brought in to do and not only win one Stanley Cup but won two. Also, the Penguins did not give up a lot talent wise, as nobody is making a key impact on the Maple Leafs roster currently. Kapanen, who the Penguins traded as a part of that deal is back on the team anyways.

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