What the Canucks are looking for in Phil Kessel ft. Frank Seravalli: Canucks Conversation

Photo credit:© Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
2 months ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal were joined by NHL insider Frank Seravalli to discuss a potential Phil Kessel-to-the-Canucks situation. 
The conversation comes on the heels of Kessel’s arrival in Vancouver, where he was spotted at YVR with his Golden Knights hockey bag and sticks. It was later confirmed by Rutherford that he would be skating in Abbotsford for some evaluation. 
“What they’re looking for is to see what kind of shape he’s in,” said Frank. “It’s great to tell everyone through your agent this guy’s been training so hard, working out; you gotta actually see it with your own eyes, see where his game is.”
The 36-year-old hasn’t played in the NHL since last season, during which he tallied 36 points (14 goals, 22 assists) in 82 regular-season games with the Vegas Golden Knights. He played in the Knights’ first four playoff games but was subsequently scratched for the remainder of the postseason, including the Stanley Cup Final, in which Vegas bested the Panthers in five games.
Frank continued, “Seeing how sharp his skills are; what does his shot look like, skating is one thing, is his passing on time and on the tape. Little things like that, I think they’re just looking to see how close of a facsimile the current Phil Kessel is to someone who’s typically in full game shape, and how far away would he be from getting there?”
“What do you think the appeal is for the Canucks?” asked Harm.
“The appeal is easy; it’s ‘we have a team that we believe is in contender mode, we’ve just added a huge piece, assets are limited, cap space is limited, and we could potentially fill a void on our roster using a free space on the bingo card,'” answered Frank. “That’s about as attractive as it gets. You consider the relationships that are in play; Rick Tocchet, the Phil Kessel whisperer from Pittsburgh, his same GM and the relationship with Patrik Allvin. That all matters, do I have authentic doubts about his ability to contribute to this team? I do. The fact that the Vegas Golden Knights went 18 games in the postseason last year where they said, ‘our lineup is better without Phil Kessel in it’. That would tell me a lot, I think it probably did tell teams a lot around the league this year and is why he remains unsigned through Valentine’s Day. I also see from the Canucks perspective that when you look at your lineup card, if you’re Rick Tocchet, and you see Nils Hoglander on your top line and Pius Suter playing wing on your second line; to think this team can’t actually get better is a fallacy and one of the true hallmarks of this team and where they’ve been is, they’re not leaving any stone unturned. If that means giving Phil Kessel a shot or not, at least they’re trying to do something to continue to improve this team on the margins.”
“From a deadline perspective, would this mean that they’re done? Probably at the forward position I would think that’s the case,” Frank continued. “Especially with the versatility that we know Lindholm has to play the wing, you’ve made your big add. I still think this team needs at least one more defenseman to help prop up this blue line and to put them in a spot where when you have a deep playoff run, the bullets start flying, you’re in a great spot to contribute if someone goes down.”
You can watch the full segment in the video below:

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