Issue surfaces in signing free agent Phil Kessel in Vancouver

Issue surfaces in signing free agent Phil Kessel in Vancouver

The Canucks only have hours to make it work.



There is a sense, a hopeful one, that veteran free agent and beloved forward Phil Kessel will sign with the Vancouver Canucks before deadline later today. The team has until 3ET pm to come to terms with the NHL’s all-time Ironman or he will not be eligible to join their roster for the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

On Friday morning, insider Rick Dhaliwal in Vancouver reports that, in order to add Kesel to their roster, the Canucks will need to clear the necessary cap space.

“If they can, it will be a pro-rated, 1 year deal at the minimum salary.

If they can not, no signing.”

While it is no definitive that Kessel won’t be able to sign in Vancouver, there is a clear issue that needs more work from the Canucks’ management who’s also busy with trade deadlines and making the right call for a long playoff run.

If Kessel can’t come to terms with the Canucks by this afternoon, it could be the end of his NHL career.
Two weeks ago, the Canucks had announced that Kessel had arrived in Vancouver and would be training with the team’s AHL affiliate Abbotsford Canucks.

Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet and Kessel, of course, won back to back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017. Tocchet was largely credited with helping Kessel reach his potential with the Penguins, to the point where he was jokingly referred to as the ‘Phil Whisperer’ for his work with Kessel. The two have spoken fondly about each other for years, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see a reunion of the two on Vancouver’s West Coast. Also, don’t forget the GM in Pittsburgh who acquired Kessel back in 2015… current Canucks president and then Penguins GM Jim Rutherford.

But cap issues and trades need to be all in the right order for Kessel to come in and play again this season.

Stay tuned.

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