NHL Rumours: Edmonton Oilers Eyeing Star Winger

NHL Rumours

Free agency is over two weeks old and several of the big names have signed. Still, there are a few big names and teams waiting to find the perfect fit. In today’s NHL rumours we look at the Edmonton Oilers and their connection to free agent Phil Kessel.

Phil Kessel Linked to Edmonton Oilers

Per Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal, the Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland is exploring various forward options in the free agent market.

Amongst other yet-to-be signed free agents, he has touted Kessel as one of the most likely names to land with the Oilers.

How Likely is the Signing and What Does Kessel Bring?

Most recently with the Arizona Coyotes, Kessel has yet to find his ideal landing spot. Despite a slump in form, the winger has star appeal and it should only be a matter of time before he has a new team. The two-time Stanley Cup winner will no longer command an $8 million AAV on his new deal. Leavins has predicted a $1 million to $1.25 million contract for the 34-year-old. If offered, the possible opportunity to play with Connor McDavid and break the overall Ironman streak could be very tempting.

However, would the Oilers take the chance? On the one hand, Kessel is not the player he once was and has seen a very concerning drop in production.

In 2020-21, the former University of Minnesota standout scored 20 goals and 43 points in 56 games. In contrast, he managed just 8 goals and 52 points in 82 games last season. Kessel has also never been one to offer any defensive play either, which can put off a lot of coaches.

A dramatic drop in productivity is highly concerning for a player of Kessel’s age. However, a lot could be attributed to last season’s circumstances. He was on an Arizona side being torn down to its foundations and multiple players suffered slumps. Also, those very respectable numbers from as recently as the 2020-21 season cannot be ignored.

Therefore, if Kessel signs for the right price and his form improves, he could be a key asset. On the power play and middle six, his sharp shot could provide the depth scoring required by Edmonton. He would also bring veteran experience of winning the ultimate prize to a group needing desperately chasing that elusive Cup.