NHL Rumors: 3 Potential Destinations for Phil Kessel

Phil Kessel is set to hit unrestricted free agency this summer after an up-and-down 2021-21 campaign. Many felt he wasn't going to last on the bottom-feeding Arizona Coyotes, however it turns out he was a great teammate and someone the organization kept through the trade deadline. A consecutive game streak and a first born may have also had something to do with why Kessel wasn't traded, but that's a story for another day. Let's take a look at three teams Kessel may sign with this summer:

Florida Panthers

The Panthers won't have a ton of cap space next season as they'll be paying Keith Yandle over $5 million in buyout money, so expect them to look for some cheap veterans to mix in their lineup. Kessel can still get it done on a team's second power-play and within their top-9 forwards so perhaps the sunshine state is a good fit for his family. Sunshine and golf mid-season also doesn't hurt. This season with the Coyotes, Kessel finished with eight goals and 52 points in 82 games. 

Pittsburgh Penguins

There could be a huge reunion in Pittsburgh this summer as not only is Kessel rumored to be on their radar, so is Marc-Andre Fleury. Perhaps the Pens get the band back together for one final hurray. With the likes of Bryan Rust, Kasperi Kapanen, Evan Rodrigues, and Rickard Rakell all free agents of some sort this summer, they won't be able to afford bringing them all back for next season. This could lead to management looking for some cheap veteran help, and Kessel's name will be circled by one of his biggest fans in Penguins president Brian Burke. 

New Jersey Devils

The Devils are a team to watch this upcoming offseason as they have a boat load of cap space and a general manager in Tom Fitzgerald who is willing to make basically any type of trade. The Devils missed out on the postseason for a fourth consecutive season and will look to get back to the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2022-23. Expect to see New Jersey try and find some scoring for the right-side of their forward group and Kessel is one of the best names on the open market come July 13.

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