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Phil Kessel is heading into unfamiliar territory for the third time in his career. The veteran forward was recently traded to the Sydney Stingrays in exchange for defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic who will now be lacing up his skates in Warsaw.

Kessel felt that it was only a matter of time before he would be traded. There had been rumors of potential deals circulating the league for quite some time. The majority of those rumors stem from a potential rift between Phil and his ex linemate, Evgeni Malkin. Now that the deal that sent Kessel to Australia is done, he feels that a weight has been lifted off his shoulders. "You can't help but stress out a bit when there are rumors like that going around. I always try my best to keep my head out of any potential mind games but sometimes they get the best of you." Kessel revealed. "It just feels good to be able to put that behind me and move on to a new chapter, you know? It doesn't hurt that that new chapter is on the beach!" he chuckled.

When we reached out to Sydney's GM Paul Gibsy for a comment on the recent trade, he told us that even though Vlasic was an integral part of the Stingrays defense, the deal was simply too hard to pass up. Kessel, a 6-time 30 goal scorer, has a large offensive upside and Gibsy plans to take full advantage of that. "We'll likely look to have Phil play top-line minutes alongside the likes of Joe Pavelski and Timo Meier." Gibsy elaborated.

Warsaw Stealth GM Tomek Wolski commented on the trade by saying "Ultimately, we felt that this was a trade we needed to make in order to bolster our defense. We have a young and talented goaltender (Justin Goldman) and we'd like to make sure his job is a little easier night in and night out."

With the season's start just around the corner, we should get a chance to see how this trade plays out for all parties involved soon enough.

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