Phil Kessel during his time in Vegas
Photo credit: NHL

Insider shares new information on a UFA forward and former Leaf

Published February 1, 2024 at 8:40

For any contending clubs looking to acquire a veteran player ahead of the trade deadline for a deep playoff push, they might have had to cross off Zach Parise and Corey Perry off their respective lists but they might still be able to zero in on Phil Kessel.

The former 3-time Stanley Cup champion and current iron-man of the NHL did not find any suitors over the summer and into the first half of the 2023-24 season. His numbers have taken a considerable hit since he tallied 82 points in 2018-19 but he can still provide leadership, secondary scoring and good locker room vibes, which is always important.

On TSN's Insider Trading on Tuesday, Pierre LeBrun gave us some insight on Kessel's current situation and what other teams are thinking about the 36-year-old's prospects of returning to the NHL:

"Yeah, I checked in on that here over the last day and the answer is that he still absolutely hopes to catch on with an NHL team. He has not given up hope, his camp is still in contact with a couple of teams.

One of the things that's in consideration here is that because he hasn't played since last year, that there might be a team or two that say 'hey come skate with us for a bit so we can take a look at you and see where things are'. He has been skating and trying to stay ready but the answer is that after Zach Parise and Corey Perry found homes, could it be a hat-trick with Phil Kessel finally finding a home before March-April, we'll see."

Parise signed with the Colorado Avalanche last week and Perry recently joined the Edmonton Oilers after having his contract terminated by the Chicago Blackhawks.

Parise was a bit of a surprise but he scored 21 goals and 34 points in 82 games last year with the New York Islanders while Kessel accumulated 22 assists and 36 points in 82 games for Vegas. Going a little deeper, Kessel has 56 goals and 169 points in 290 games over the last 4 seasons, while Parise scored 68 goals ad 133 points in 278 games. So, one would think that if Parise can find a home, Kessel should be able to follow suit.

Kessel has 413 goals and 992 points in 1,286 games across 17 seasons with Boston, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Arizona, and Vegas. Additionally, he scored 34 goals and 83 points in 100 playoff games, including 18 goals and 45 points in 49 games on his 2 Stanley Cup runs with the Penguins.

Keep an eye on Kessel as we inch closer and closer to the trade deadline.

February 1   |   627 answers
Insider shares new information on a UFA forward and former Leaf

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