Phil Kessel Signs With New Club in Free Agency

Phil Kessel Signs

It has been confirmed that unrestricted free agent Phil Kessel has signed a one-year contract with the Vegas Golden Knights, for $1.5 million dollars.

Phil Kessel’s Career So Far

Kessel, 34, was drafted by the Boston Bruins in 2006 with the fifth overall pick. He has since spent time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins and most recently, the Arizona Coyotes. A former Masterton Trophy recipient as a rookie, Kessel has also won two Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh. The American has also taken home a silver Olympic medal and has accumulated 956 points in 1204 appearances. His current ironman streak is the longest active in the NHL with 982 games, just seven short of the all-time lead.

What Will Phil Kessel Bring to His New Team?

By signing Kessel, Vegas has acquired a strong veteran presence in the locker room. His experience of being a back-to-back Stanley Cup winner will be very useful to a Vegas team looking to get back to their winning ways. Kessel is not one for the spotlight, but it is well known that his teammates have all enjoyed his easy-going and relaxed personality.

In purely hockey terms, Kessel’s best days are being him. Backchecking was never the winger’s strong suit and he is absolutely not the guy you want to rely on for defensive coverage. Still, he has the all too rare ‘scoring touch’. His production may have suffered while playing on a bad Coyotes team. The Wisconsin native still has decent speed for a 34-year-old. He can break forward quickly, plus his sharp, powerful shot is still feared. While his numbers have been dropping off, he can still provide solid secondary scoring. Vegas will need that after shipping Max Pacioretty to the Hurricanes earlier this off-season. The Golden Knights are certainly hoping that Kessel will be able to best his eight goals from a year ago.

Its reasonable to think Kessel will rediscover his scoring touch. It seemed only natural to see his numbers would suffer playing on a bad Arizona Coyotes team. Now Vegas is banking on Kessel finding his touch. If he does, Vegas will have found a good goalscoring option in the middle-six that can also play the power play at a reasonable price. For a team that is up against the cap like Vegas, it seemed like a good bet to make.