Penguins Trade for Kessel on First Day of NHL Free-Agency Period

  • Colorado signs defenseman Beauchemin and forward Comeau
  • Kessel, three-time All-Star, joins Malkin, Crosby with Pens

The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired winger Phil Kessel from the Toronto Maple Leafs, a trade that stole headlines on the first day of the National Hockey League’s free-agency period.

Elsewhere around the league, the Colorado Avalanche signed defenseman Francois Beauchemin and forward Blake Comeau. The Predators re-signed center Mike Ribeiro, the second-best available free agent, according to a Sports Illustrated list.

In exchange for Kessel, the Maple Leafs received Kasperi Kapanen, Nick Spaling and Scott Harrington, according to an ESPN report that said more players or draft picks could be involved. Toronto will also pay $1.2 million of Kessel’s salary each year through 2022, between 15 percent and 25 percent of his contract, TSN said.

Kessel, 27, scored at least 30 goals in five of the last six full seasons, a span that includes three All-Star game appearances. Last season, his sixth in Toronto, he scored 25 goals, his lowest total since 2007-08.

He joins a Pittsburgh team that includes two of the game’s best players, centers Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, who have each won the league’s Most Valuable Player award in the past four seasons. The Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009, and haven’t been to the finals since.

Ribeiro turned down larger offers to stay in Nashville on a two-year, $7 million deal, according to ESPN. The 35-year-old center scored 62 points last year, his best campaign since 2011-12.

The Calgary Flames added free-agent forward Michael Frolik on a five-year deal worth an average of $4.3 million per year, according to TSN.

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