Report: Phil Kessel trending towards signing with the Canucks, may require conditioning stint

Photo credit:Brett Holmes-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
1 month ago
It’s starting to look a lot like a full-fledged NHL contract with the Vancouver Canucks is in the offing for veteran winger Phil Kessel.
The 36-year-old winger arrived in B.C. earlier this month to work out with the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks and get back into game shape ahead of a potential NHL gig in Vancouver.
On Tuesday’s edition of Donnie & Dhali, Vancouver hockey insider Rick Dhaliwal reported that things between the Canucks and Kessel are progressing positively toward a resolution, with both sides working toward a contract.
“Kessel arrived in Vancouver two weeks ago today. He started working out for the Canucks the very next day,” Dhaliwal said. I’m not hearing anything negative when it comes to the Canucks and Kessel.
“He will continue to work out this week. All sides want this to end with a signing. The goal was always to sign Kessel. That’s where it’s trending.”
Dhaliwal further indicated that while Kessel will likely join the Canucks on an NHL deal to start, he may eventually need to spend more time in Abbotsford on a conditioning stint.
“He is not going to start in Abbotsford, from what I’m told,” Dhaliwal said. “It’s going to be a sign with the Canucks first, if it happens — that’s the way it’s trending — and then, possibly, a conditioning assignment with Abbotsford after signing, if that’s the way they go.”
Kessel, of course, needs no introduction. The Madison, Wisconsin product has three Stanley Cup rings and is just eight points away from 1,000 in his career. He’s familiar with the Canucks’ management and coaching staff from his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, with whom he won back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017.
The Boston Bruins originally selected Kessel with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2006 NHL Draft. He has appeared in 1,286 career games with the Bruins, Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Arizona Coyotes, and Vegas Golden Knights, collecting 413 goals and 992 points; he’s added 83 points in 100 playoff contests.

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