As much as fans like to poke fun at Phil Kessel, the hard truth is that he has been an effective hockey player throughout his career. Three Stanley Cup championships and 413 career goals says it all.
But any thought Kessel might end up back with the Pittsburgh Penguins seems misguided.
Hall of Fame-honored writer Dave Molinari wrote recently that Kessel simply doesn’t fit with what new president and general manager Kyle Dubas is trying to accomplish. He has emphasized trying to revamp the bottom two lines, and that’s not Kessel’s game. Also, let’s not forget that Penguins coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t in love with Kessel’s play away from the puck even when he was a premium offensive player in Pittsburgh.
Kessel, 35, isn’t the dynamic offensive force he once was. He managed 14 goals in the regular season, but he was scratched often in the playoffs. He currently holds an ironman streak of 1,064 games, which certainly illustrates his commitment to playing. But he said he is willing to give that up for another contract. He knows that teams don’t want to be the team that ends his streak by scratching him.
Clearly, Kessel can still produce. Two seasons ago, he totaled 52 points. Scoring 14 goals last season is not insignificant.
“Perhaps Phil Kessel still has a place in the NHL,” Molinari wrote. “It just isn’t with the Pittsburgh Penguins.”
Red Wings Offseason
Pardubice defeated Skelleftea 4-3 in the Swedish team’s second Champions League game. Red Wings prospect Axel Sandin Pellikka saw his playing time increase to almost 20 minutes. He had no points, but managed two shots on goal.
— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) September 3, 2023
Red Wings In Case You Missed It
- The Brandon Wheat Kings are counting on Nate Danielson coming back to the WHL. Based on Steve Yzerman’s history, they think that’s a safe projection.
- Igor Larionov’s KHL coaching is helping Colorado Avalanche prospect Nikolai Kovalenko .
- Bob Duff writes about the time Manny Legace served as the buffer between Dominik Hasek and Curtis Joseph. Teammates called Legace “Jimmy Buffer.”
- Former Red Wings player Sergei Fedorov sounded defiant when he talked about how he would play goalie Ivan Fedotov even through the IIHF had suspended him.
Hockey Now Network
Colorado: Evan Rawal poses five questions the Colorado Avalanche need to answer before the season starts.
Nashville: Nick Keiser wonders what the Predators would look like if some of their prominent players hadn’t moved on. Nashville Predators.
New Jersey: Jesper Bratt explained that the pressure of short term deals ultimately paved the way for the long-term deal with the New Jersey Devils.
Philadelphia: It was a bit disappointing for Flyers fans that 2023 first-round pick Matvei Michkov was a healthy scratch in the KHL. The Philadelphia Flyers know every game is important to his development.
Washington: WHN tabs right-shot defenseman Cam Allen as the Washington Capitals‘ No. 9 prospect.