Phil Kessel is up there on the list of free agents still unsigned this summer and is still looking for a deal. Chatter has linked him to the Edmonton Oilers and there’s no doubt he’d bring leadership and experience to the team. He would be an asset for the Oilers, especially since the team got a taste of the postseason last spring and would love to get a longer run in 2023.
However, Adam Proteau of the Hockey News points out how Kessel might have to make a huge sacrifice to join the Oilers, or any other contender for that matter.
Kessel is coming off an eight-year, $64 million contract, but could accept a bargain deal to play for a contender like the Oilers. And as Proteau puts it, Kessel’s next deal cannot be about money.
“Kessel has earned more than $91 million as a player, so his next contract isn’t all about money. It’s about the right fit for him personally and on the ice, and really, there should be at least a few teams that can offer him a good fit as his pro career winds down. The team that does sign him could be getting a real bargain.”
But what about Kessel’s iron man streak could be in jeopardy, especially if he lands on a powerful roster like the Oilers. But he could bring great support to an already powerful offence : in three seasons with the Arizona Coyotes, Kessel put up 42 goals and 91 assists. He is 34 years old, but still has gas in the tank! His production did drop considerably after being traded to the Coyotes by the Penguins in 2019, however, a change of scenery might just be what the doctor ordered.
If not, he might choose to land with a team that is struggling or currently in the rebuilding phase, which would guarantee he gets to play at least another 10 games to clinch the record.
But Kessel might not be able to pass up a chance at another championship before he hangs up the skates.