Crosby on Kessel trade rumors: 'There's always going to be talk'
“There’s always going to be talk,” Crosby told The Athletic's Josh Yohe. “And there’s always going to be some things said outside of this room, the kind of stuff that we don’t really have any control over. All I know is, we appreciate all the things he brings to this team.”
Kessel's name has surfaced in trade talks before. Last offseason, he was reportedly open to playing for the Arizona Coyotes, a team that former Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet leads behind the bench. There was also a reported rift this summer between Kessel and Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan.
Last month, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford spoke candidly about possibly shaking up the roster if the team didn't improve. He made a couple deals, shipping out Carl Hagelin and Daniel Sprong in exchange for Tanner Pearson and Marcus Pettersson in two separate trades. Pittsburgh is now third in the Metro Division.
Kessel is on pace for a career-high 100 points after recording a personal-best 92 last season. His value to the Penguins is clear, and especially to Crosby, who skated on a line with Kessel during the club's win on Thursday. The two have rarely played together at 5-on-5, but they combined for seven points against the Isles.
“We definitely appreciate all the things he can do for us,” Crosby said. “Look at what he does, look at how much he produces, how dangerous he can be every night.”