Home sport Kyle Dubas names the Phil Kessel trade as a reason to avoid the takeover

Kyle Dubas names the Phil Kessel trade as a reason to avoid the takeover

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It turns out that former Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford is part of the reason he didn’t buy Mikael Granlund this season.

The new president of hockey operations, Kyle Dupas, said at a news conference Friday at the Cranberry that he views acquisitions as a “last resort,” in part because of the deal Rutherford struck with the Maples. Toronto Leafs for Phil Kessel in 2015.

“We had this situation in Toronto, on the retention agreement with Pittsburgh,” Dubas said. “You look at it, seven years later, and you still have that space, in a tough salary environment, that limits you.”

In order to send Kessel to Pittsburgh, the Leafs agreed to keep 15% annually, or $1.2 million, of his $8 million salary. At the time, Kessel had seven seasons left on the contract.

That cap was still on Toronto’s books when Dubas took over in 2018. He remained there for the next four seasons, only ending when Kessel’s contract finally expired in 2022.

Every Dollar Counts When the Leafs’ four starters, Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, combined nearly half of the team’s salary cap, so they lost $1.2 million each year. No wonder Dupas is uncomfortable with his first move with the Penguins as a deal that commits them to years of the same burden.

“In terms of acquisition, I always think you’re trying to come up with a more creative solution, and that’s a last resort,” Dubas said. “And I don’t feel like we’re at that point right now.”

The most obvious candidate to take over the Penguins is Mikael Granlund, who signed for another two years at a $5 million price tag after his disappointing 21-game winning streak with Pittsburgh last season.

However, his purchase would remain on the Penguins’ cap for the next four campaigns. The cost will be less than $1 million for next season, but will rise to nearly $2 million for the next three years.

The NHL takeover window ends June 30. Given Dubas’ comments, it doesn’t look like the Penguins will use him.

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