NHL Rumors: 3 Teams to Target Phil Kessel This Offseason

It has come to that time of year when we look more in-depth at a player's potential offseason destination. Phil Kessel is in a very unique situation, he is the all-time leader in most consecutive games played (1064) and his iron-man streak will be expected to keep going. That means that he will want to sign with a team that will honour the streak and allow it to keep going until he physically can't play. Now, the Vegas Golden Knights agreed to that this past offseason, so Kessel signed there. However, this postseason he was a healthy scratched, with left people worried about the streak (don't worry it doesn't ruin the streak). But it could get Kessel thinking about a potential change because he was sat out of a playoff game, so let's look at a few teams that could look at Kessel as an option. 

Colorado Avalanche

Now that we know that their captain Gabriel Landeskog will be out the entirety of the 2023-24 NHL season, the Avalanche will have a ton of money to spend. In a previous article, I talked about the team's injury issues this season and how Zach Aston-Reese was an option in the bottom six, he is a guy who hasn't had many serious injuries and will pay 82 games if needed. Well, so will Kessel. I mean, come on, he does have a 1064-game iron-man streak, which should be the main reason why Colorado takes a chance on Kessel. However, let's not forget that he can still play at a fairly high level and can still put the puck in the net, which will also help the team. The Avalanche this season, was a prime example as to why depth is important, they have the depth but it lacked scoring, Kessel can provide that. 

Pittsburgh Penguins

This one should be a given, Kessel won two cups alongside Malkin and Crosby. With how the season went for the Penguins, they like the Avalanche didn't have the depth scoring that was needed to get them into the postseason. So, why not take a chance at bringing Kessel back to where he had tremendous success on a cheap deal? Depth scoring and the salary cap were two of the Penguins' biggest issues this season, so for a cheap contract, you can get Kessel back who can score 15-20 goals alongside both Crosby and Malkin. 

Toronto Maple Leafs 

This would be a site to see, Phil Kessel returns to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a chance to win the Stanley Cup with the new core. Well, it is most likely not going to happen but there could be mutual interest between the two parties. Whoever is the Leafs' GM this offseason will need to look at cheap options to sign to support the core players that are returning, and Kessel would fit that role. He would be expected to take a veteran's discount but he could fit on a second line as a shooter who can score 15-20 goals, as well as log some second PP minutes, which may allow the coach to split up the talent over two units. 

Photo Credits: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports