The Penguins have had their share of big offseason trades.
In this list I'll rank the five offseason trades that had the biggest impact - for better or worse - on the organization.
5. July 1, 2015: Penguins acquire Phil Kessel from Maple Leafs
The Penguins acquired Phil Kessel, prospects Tyler Biggs and Tim Erixon, and a second-round pick (used to select Kasper Bjorkqvist) in the 2016 draft from the Maple Leafs in exchange for Nick Spaling, prospects Scott Harrington and Kasperi Kapanen, a conditional first-round pick, and a third-round draft pick.
Kessel was one-third of the "HBK" line -- along with Carl Hagelin and Nick Bonino -- that found success together in the 2016 Stanley Cup run, and Kessel led the team in postseason scoring with 10 goals and 12 assists in 24 games. He fell three voting points shy of winning the Conn Smythe Trophy awarded to Sidney Crosby
“It was a great job by Jim and Mike and the coaching staff to build the group around them that they needed to build," Mario Lemieuxsaid following the win in 2016. "That all started with getting Phil Kessel, as everyone got to see. And then adding Carl Hagelin and the young guys, it really changed the way we played. With Sid and his leadership all season, especially in the playoffs, everything came together.”
Kessel finished third in playoff scoring in the Penguins' 2017 run, scoring eight goals and 15 assists in 25 games.
The impact of the trade continues to grow. Bjorkqvist, the forward drafted with pick that was acquired in the trade, is viewed within the organization as one of the team's top prospects, and one of the closest to being NHL-ready.