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Penguins Acquire Forwards Phil Kessel and Tyler Biggs, and Defenseman Tim Erixon from Toronto in Exchange for Kasperi Kapanen, Nick Spaling, Scott Harrington and a 2016 Third-Round Draft Pick

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired forwards Phil Kessel and Tyler Biggs and defenseman Tim Erixon from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Kasperi Kapanen, Nick Spaling, Scott Harrington and a 2016 third-round draft pick previously acquired from New Jersey, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

The deal also involves conditional draft choices based upon the following conditions:

*If Pittsburgh qualifies for the 2016 postseason, Toronto will receive the Penguins’ 2016 first-round draft pick; and the Penguins will receive Toronto’s 2016 second-round selection. The second-round pick would be the one Toronto originally acquired from Pittsburgh for Daniel Winnik earlier this year.

*Should Pittsburgh miss the 2016 playoffs, Toronto will INSTEAD receive the Penguins’ 2017 first-round pick; with Pittsburgh getting Toronto’s 2017 second-round selection in return.

*If the Penguins were to miss the postseason the next two years, Toronto would receive Pittsburgh’s 2017 second-round draft pick and Pittsburgh would not receive a draft pick.

Kessel is signed through the 2021-22 season. Toronto is retaining 15 percent of his salary, making Pittsburgh’s cap hit $6.8 million.

Kessel, 27, is one of the top goal scorers in the NHL. During the last five years, his 151 goals rank fourth (tied) in the NHL behind only Alex Ovechkin (206), Steven Stamkos (202) and Corey Perry (178).

During that same time period, Kessel ranks eighth (tied) among all NHL players with 339 points, making the Penguins the only NHL team with three players ranked in the top-15 during that span. Sidney Crosby is fifth (tied) with 347 and Evgeni Malkin is 15th with 321.

Since breaking into the NHL, 6-foot, 200-pound Kessel has scored 247 goals in 668 games, including seven-straight years breaking 20-goal and 50-point barriers.

A five-time 30-goal scorer and three-time NHL All-Star (2011, ’12, ’15), the 6-foot, 202-pound Kessel paced Toronto with 61 points (25G-36A) in 82 appearances this past season. Kessel tallied eight times on the power play and had four game-winners.

Two seasons ago, the right-handed shooting Kessel equaled his career high by scoring 37 goals and totaling 80 points in 82 games with the Leafs.

Kessel, who hails from Madison, Wisconsin, has played nine NHL seasons, the past six in Toronto and his first three in Boston, since the Bruins made him the fifth-overall selection in the 2006 NHL Draft. Since then, his 247 goals are the most scored by a player drafted in ’06, 24 more than second-place Jonathan Toews (223).

The winner of the 2007 Bill Masterton Trophy after overcoming a bout with cancer, Kessel has registered 520 points (247G-273A) in 668 career regular-season games. He’s added 13 goals and 21 points in 22 postseason contests.

Kessel, who is the NHL’s highest-scoring American player the last seven years with 217 tallies, is one of the league’s most-durable players. He has played in 446-consecutive regular-season games dating back to Nov. 3, 2009; and he has played every game for his team in six of his nine seasons.

A two-time U.S. Olympian (2010, ’14), Kessel starred at the ’14 Games in Sochi, leading both Team USA and the entire tournament in goals (5) and points (8). Those numbers earned him the title of the tournament’s ‘Best Forward’ and a spot on the post-tournament All-Star Team.

In 2010, Kessel helped lead the upstart American entry to a silver medal, falling in overtime in the Gold Medal Game to Canada. In two combined Olympic appearances, Kessel has 10 points (6G-4A) in 12 games.

Kessel’s expansive resume wearing red, white and blue includes three trips to the World Championship, back-to-back World Junior Championship appearances in ’05 and ’06, and consecutive Under-18 World Junior tournaments in ’04 and ’05.

During the 2006 WJC, Kessel led the entire tournament in assists (10) and points (11). He won a gold (’04) and a silver (’05) in the Under-18 event, making the All-Star Team both years and winning ‘Best Forward’ in ’05.

Kessel’s ties to USA Hockey stretch to his amateur days when he played two years for the United States National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan from 2003-05.

Kessel skated for one season at the University of Minnesota in ’05-06, where he won the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s (WCHA) rookie of the year award and was named to the All-Rookie Team.

Kessel’s dad, Phil Sr., played quarterback at Northern Michigan and spent a year on the Washington Redskins practice squad. His brother, Blake, is also a pro hockey player, while his sister, Amanda, is one of the top female hockey players in the world, having won a silver medal with Team USA at the 2014 Olympics.

Biggs, 22, was a first-round pick (22nd overall) in the 2011 draft by the Maple Leafs.

A 6-foot-2, 223-pound forward, Biggs has played parts of the last three seasons with the Toronto Marlies, totaling 10 goals and five assists for 15 points in 108 games.

Biggs, a Loveland, Ohio native, is a four-time gold medalist with the United States on the international level at the following tournaments: 2010 Under-17 World Championships; 2010 Under-18 World Championships; 2011 Under-18 World Junior Championships; and the 2013 Under-20 World Junior Championships.

Erixon, 24, was Calgary’s first-round draft pick (23rd overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft. Erixon, the son of long-time NHLer Jan Erixon, played 42 NHL games this season with Toronto, Chicago and Columbus, tallying two goals and five assists for seven points.

Erixon, who was born in Port Chester, New York but is a native of Sweden, has played 92 NHL games for the NY Rangers, Columbus, Chicago and Toronto, tallying 14 points (2G-12A).

He won a bronze medal with Sweden at the 2014 World Championship. He also won a silver medal at the 2011 World Championship.

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