Photo credit:© Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Report: Vancouver Canucks ‘poking around’ on free agent forward Phil Kessel
17 days ago
The Vancouver Canucks are “poking around” on free agent forward Phil Kessel, according to Rick Dhaliwal of Donnie and Dhali — The Team.
“I checked into it and I can tell you right now, the Vancouver Canucks still talk and discuss Phil Kessel,” said Dhaliwal. “They keep in regular contact with his agent, they like his experience, what he’s done in the past, he’s got a relationship with Tocchet, Allvin, and Rutherford. Tocchet coached him in Arizona, Rutherford acquired him in Pittsburgh. Tocchet said last weekend said this of Kessel: ‘there is value in Phil, I think he can still play 100%.’“Now, the big issue: conditioning. He has not played in eight months, he only played four games for Vegas last year when they won the Stanley Cup. That will be Kessel’s biggest issue, ‘are you in shape?’ The number one thing Tocchet did when he got to Vancouver got everybody in shape. Kessel doesn’t cost you anything, it’s a gamble, yes, but there are no assets to be given up, it’ll be a cheap price. The Kessel decision I’ve been told is not far away, some say soon. Not sure where this goes, but the Vancouver Canucks are poking around Phil Kessel.”
Kessel knows the Canucks’ brass quite well. The Jim Rutherford-led Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Kessel, who played a key role for them en route to back-to-back Stanley Cup victories. Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet ran the power play for those teams, which is where Tocchet and Kessel’s relationship began. Years later, when Tocchet was the Arizona Coyotes’ bench boss, Kessel was among Tocchet’s most trusted players.
As great as the Canucks have played this season, they don’t have much playoff experience outside of Ian Cole, another member of those cup winning teams in Pittsburgh. If the Canucks are in fact done going big fish hunting ahead of the March 8th trade deadline, Kessel could represent a low-cost and low-risk depth addition ahead of their upcoming playoff run.
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