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Arizona Coyotes acquire Phil Kessel, trade Alex Galchenyuk

(Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Arizona Coyotes have traded for Pittsburgh winger Phil Kessel, the team announced Saturday.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and TSN’s Darren Dreger first reported the deal, which sends Alex Galchenyuk and Pierre-Olivier Joseph to Pittsburgh. The Coyotes are also receiving defenseman Dane Birks and the Penguins’ 2021 fourth round draft pick.

The addition of Kessel would seem to check a significant box for the Coyotes, who badly needed to add a prolific scorer after finishing 29th in the league in goals last season.

“Phil Kessel is a proven winner, an elite goal scorer and one of the most productive point producers in the NHL for a sustained period of time,” Coyotes GM John Chayka said in a press release. “His dynamic scoring ability fits a specific need for this team and instantly elevates us to another level.”

Kessel scored 27 goals last year and 34 the year before. Arizona had no 20-goal scorers last year for the first time in Winnipeg/Phoenix/Arizona franchise history.

Kessel also hasn’t missed a regular season game since the 2009-10 season.

“Bringing in one of the premier scorers in the NHL-and a two-time Stanley Cup champion-demonstrates Mr. Meruelo’s commitment to winning and to doing whatever it takes to make this organization great,” Coyotes president and CEO Ahron Cohen said in a press release. “This team is on the rise and today is an important acceleration forward for our organization and our amazing fans here in Arizona.”

The Coyotes have been linked to Kessel multiple times throughout the past year or beyond. Kessel not only fills a need for Arizona but also would reunite with head coach Rick Tocchet, who was an assistant with the Penguins where Kessel has played the last four seasons.

Galchenyuk played only one season in Arizona after the Coyotes acquired him from Montreal last season for Max Domi. After starting the regular season on injured reserve, Galchenyuk went on to score 19 goals and 22 assists in 72 games.

His season also included a start at center before eventually being moved to the wing.

Joseph was the Coyotes’ first-round pick in 2017, going 23rd overall. He has since played in the QMJHL and needed to put on more weight to get closer to being NHL-ready. The defenseman may have played in Tucson this coming season, a trade notwithstanding.

The left-handed Joseph stands 6-foot-1 and about 160 pounds. He had nine goals and 47 points between two junior teams last season.

Joseph played in Friday night’s prospect scrimmage game for Arizona, less than 24 hours before becoming a piece in acquiring a scorer.

The Coyotes’ trade of a prospect blueliner is softened by the fact that the team had loaded up on defensemen the last few drafts. Jakob Chychrun, Victor Soderstrom and Kevin Bahl are among the defenseman whom the Coyotes have selected with high draft picks in recent summers.

According to CapFriendly, Kessel’s contract has three years left with an AAV of $6.8 million. Galchenyuk’s deal has one year left at $4.9 million.

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