Free Agent Profile: Phil Kessel

In his peak all through the 2010s, Phil Kessel was a constant 30-goal risk, displaying his electrical taking pictures expertise en path to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships with the Pittsburgh Penguins (and with the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier than that). While Kessel’s transfer to Arizona for the final three seasons could have left him forgotten in some circles, he is coming off his greatest season in three years.

Despite a career-low 4.6 taking pictures share, Kessel will pitch his comparatively excessive level whole, particularly given the poor state of affairs in Arizona, to persuade groups he is nonetheless a reputable risk. And, taking a look at his robust play-driving numbers from final season, he could have some extent. Despite seeing his ice time dip to its lowest level throughout his three years in Arizona, Kessel nonetheless managed to complete inside 11 factors of the crew lead at age 34.

It’s not usually {that a} 34-year-old is on the open market with a powerful cause to spend money on a rebound season, however that is the case with Kessel. Even if his protection hasn’t been fairly currently, it was by no means a promoting level to his sport. Considering his profession common taking pictures share sits over 10 p.c, anticipating Kessel to have a stronger offensive season in 2022-23, not less than when it comes to placing pucks within the internet, is a secure guess.

His Stanley Cup pedigree must also make him a sexy possibility for groups on the lookout for inexpensive depth to assist push them over the hump to a Stanley Cup.


2021-22: 82 GP, 8-44-52, -24 score, 40 PIMs, 175 photographs, 45.3 CF%, 16:41 ATOI
Career: 1204 GP, 399-557-956, -148 score, 372 PIMs, 3700 photographs, 49.3 CF%, 18:02 ATOI

Potential Suitors

Kessel ought to discover a dwelling earlier than numerous different veterans are compelled to accept PTOs as coaching camps start. While he is not what he was once, he nonetheless had greater than 50 factors final season. With his low price ticket, he needs to be a sexy possibility as groups proceed to tinker with their rosters in the course of the month of August.

There may very well be a spot for him within the backside six of a retooled Calgary Flames ahead group. While Jakob Pelletier is a powerful candidate to make a bounce to the NHL subsequent season after a powerful season in Stockton, Kessel may problem different veterans resembling Milan Lucic or Sean Monahan for taking part in time at a less expensive value and extra goal-scoring upside. He may go Cup-chasing with the Colorado Avalanche as properly, as they’ve misplaced some depth forwards resembling Andrei Burakovsky and Nicolas Aube-Kubel. He may additionally stand to be a stable secondary scoring possibility for the Minnesota Wild after they misplaced Kevin Fiala.

If he needs to go again East, the New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, and Florida Panthers are a trio of groups that would use him of their backside six.

Projected Contract

Kessel got here in twenty third on our Top 50 UFAs listing in early July. While he doubtless will not command the $2MM AAV we predicted at this level, there’s nonetheless a stable likelihood he may earn seven figures and never need to accept a league minimal deal. It all doubtless will depend on the cap scenario of the crew Kessel opts to signal with, as after over $90MM in profession earnings, per CapFriendly, cash doubtless will not be an enormous think about his determination.


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