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Fleury glad to have Kessel as teammate on Penguins

NHL.com @NHL

After the Pittsburgh Penguins scored eight goals in five games during their Eastern Conference First Round loss to the New York Rangers last season, they acquired high-scoring forward Phil Kessel on July 1.

One player happy with the move is Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who won't have to face Kessel anymore.

"[Kessel is] very talented, very fast," Fleury told the Penguins website Friday. "One less guy I have to worry about playing against. It'll be good to have him with the group of guys that we have and maybe make practice a little tougher with all these guys that we have up front."

Kessel was traded to the Penguins from the Toronto Maple Leafs in a six-player deal that involved three draft picks. In nine seasons with the Boston Bruins and Maple Leafs, Kessel has 247 goals and 520 points in 668 games, including seven 20-goal seasons and five 30-goal seasons.

Kessel has 11 goals in 32 games against the Penguins, most of those coming with Fleury in goal. Kessel should spark an offense that was 19th in the NHL in goals last season (217).

"The way that he can score goals; I think he maybe hasn't been playing with the best teams the past few seasons and he's still racking up lots of goals, lots of points," Fleury said. "It'll be good to watch him to play on our side now."

The Penguins made several other moves during the offseason: They acquired forwards Nick Bonino, Eric Fehr and Matt Cullen and lost defenseman Paul Martin and forwards Brandon Sutter, Steve Downie, and Blake Comeau.

"There's been lots of changes, that's for sure," Fleury said. "Sometimes it's a little sad to see so many buddies go and leave the team, but it's part of the game. And it shows that [general manager] Jim [Rutherford] and the organization are ready to make changes to improve the team and give us a chance to win at the end, and that's what he's doing."

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