Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford on Monday confirmed the rumor that forward Phil Kessel had vetoed a recent exchange.
The GM did not name the team involved, but it was widely reported that the Penguins had an agreement on the table with the Minnesota Wild in which Kessel and Jack Johnson would be going out for Jason Zucker and Victor Rask .
"In Phil's situation, it was just part of a decision (…) where we were trying to re-equip ourselves and we had a chance to find a good player, but that does not necessarily mean that it has to be exchanged, "said Rutherford at 93.7. Fan in Pittsburgh. "He was a very good player for us, we would not have won the Cup without him, he is an impact player, he will be there for a few more years and we will see how that goes."
Kessel has just finished a season in which he scored 27 goals and 82 points, a good number of course, but the 31-year-old must stand out in attack to overcome some of his deficiencies in defense. He had scored 34 goals and 92 points the year before.
After being swept by the Islanders in the first round of the playoffs last season, the Penguins are looking to get younger and faster with star Sidney Crosby. Defender Olli Maatta was traded to the Blackhawks against young striker Dominik Kahun this week.
Rutherford hinted that he had organized the trade without worrying that Minnesota was not on the list of Kessel approved destinations.
"The most important thing from the point of view of the team, you can not let the player control the trade, because if you do, it will not work for the team, so at this point I think Phil will come back with the team, "said Rutherford.
"I'm not lobbying to trade at this point, so if someone offers a deal that makes sense, we'll consider it, like most other players."
Rutherford did not blame Kessel for exercising his contractual rights.
"Minnesota has never been on his roster." At this point, he's a player who deserved to find himself in a position where he had no exchange and to choose eight teams in which he would go Otherwise, he would have his say as to whether he would go or not to the other teams, "Rutherford said. "I do not think there is anything extraordinary here.It exercises its right.Of course, it is frustrating for the team when you feel that the exchange that we were going to do was the right thing for the Penguins, but Phil did not do anything wrong. "
"The guys you mentioned are not guys I push to trade or think I have to trade with the Penguins, they've been great players, they're still great, and they're the kind of guys you win with. championships, "Rutherford told the radio station. "I did not say I was going to lobby to swap the guys you just mentioned, but I did not say no, the best example of all, the people l '. hear again and again, Gretzky has been traded, you know that he is one of the greatest players of all time. [that] Come on you have to watch, and that is why I kept this door open. "