Phil Kessel is up there on the list of free agents still unsigned this summer, and he deserves to land a good deal. For the past weeks, Kessel has been linked to the Edmonton Oilers, and Jeff Marek wondered on the 32 Thoughts podcast on Sportsnet if the team might have an agreement in place with the veteran forward, who is just waiting out the arbitration period to sign in Edmonton.
“He’d score there, there’s no denying that,” he said, pointing out Kessel was in a difficult spot with the Arizona Coyotes last season.
While Kessel is not the player he once was, he could become an affordable addition for the Oilers.
Fans want to see Kessel signed to a new deal before puck drop takes place in October. He is just seven games away from tying the longest iron man streak in the NHL!
Kessel is a forward who has experience winning two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins and could fit in with the Oilers who have made the moves this offseason to go further into the postseason next spring. 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.
While the Oilers would be a great landing spot for Kessel, the team over the $82.5-million ceiling by $2.9 million with restricted free agents Kailer Yamamoto and Ryan McLeod still to sign, according to Cap Friendly. They do have some wiggle room with Oscar Klefbom and Mike Smith going on long-term injury reserve, but Kessel would need to settle for less money than what he’s been making in the past: almost $8-million average annual value of his previous contract, that’s not happening ever again!
The Oilers might be linked to Kessel in trade chatter, they might not be able to squeeze a one-year bargain contract for him in the end…
Let’s see what happens next for Kessel, however, the clock is ticking.