Kessel speaks with Canucks, agrees to a workout


The Vancouver Canucks announced Tuesday that veteran winger Phil Kessel will work out this week in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where the team’s AHL affiliate team is located.

Kessel has not played since last season, when he won his third Stanley Cup, as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights. The 36-year-old finished with 14 goals and 36 points in 82 regular-season games while scoring two points, both assists, in four playoff games.

Potentially adding Kessel, who owns the NHL’s iron man streak with 1,064 consecutive regular-season games played, would be the latest personnel move for a Canucks team that has gone from turmoil to a Stanley Cup challenger in the span of 12 months.

The Canucks opened the season with a 20-9-1 mark, and they have since added more help. Vancouver made separate trades with the Calgary Flames to acquire Nikita Zadorov in November before landing one of the biggest names ahead of the NHL trade deadline by acquiring Elias Lindholm in late January.

Getting Kessel would provide the Canucks with another option to a winger core that already features their leading goal-scorer in Brock Boeser in addition to Conor Garland and Nils Hoglander.

Going to Vancouver also would see Kessel reunite with Canucks coach Rick Tocchet. Kessel and Tocchet were together for two seasons as members of the Arizona Coyotes. Kessel was part of the Coyotes team that reached the first round of the playoffs in the Edmonton postseason bubble of 2020. Kessel had 34 goals and 81 points over 126 games during his time with Tocchet at the helm.

By joining the Canucks, Kessel would not only have a chance at a fourth Stanley Cup (he won his first two with the Pittsburgh Penguins, in 2016 and 2017), but it could see him reach the 1,000-point mark, as he is currently eight points shy of that accomplishment.

His return also would come in the wake of another team with Stanley Cup aspirations in the Colorado Avalanche adding a veteran winger in Zach Parise in late January. The 39-year-old Parise has one goal in four games with the Avs while averaging 12:19 in ice time.

Entering Tuesday, the Canucks (35-12-6) were atop the Pacific Division and held a three-point edge over the Boston Bruins in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy for the NHL’s best record.

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Las Vegas News Magazine

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