Welcome back to Around the Pacific — the column in which we examine news from around the NHL’s Pacific Division, oftentimes through a Canucks-tinted lens.
Phil the Thrill is headed to the Pacific Division.
On Wednesday, the Vegas Golden Knights announced the signing of 34-year-old Phil Kessel to a one-year contract at a cap hit of $1.5 million.
As a member of the Coyotes the past three seasons, Kessel registered 42 goals and 91 assists through 208 games.
The fifth overall pick of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Kessel has six 30+ goal seasons under his belt but hasn’t reached that mark since the 2017-18 season, when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Kessel is the 982 consecutive games he’s skated in — never missing even one due to injury or a healthy scratch. He owns the second-longest “iron man” streak in league history, behind only fellow ex-Coyote Keith Yandle (989 games).
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Scoring just eight goals this past season with the woeful Coyotes, Kessel’s season goal total was under ten for the first time in his 16-year NHL career. That being said, he still found ways to contribute offensively, tallying 44 assists on a team that scored 206 goals in the entire season.
Kessel is in the Pacific now, and is certainly looking to prove to everyone once again that he can still produce at a high level offensively with this one-year deal on a team like Vegas before testing free agency again next offseason.
With this move, Vegas — who is a bit of wildcard heading into this season thanks to major question marks in goal — bolsters their offensive depth as they continue to try to be creative in icing a team that can compete for a playoff spot.
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Vegas is currently roughly $7 million over the cap currently, so will have to pull off some cap gymnastics in order to be cap compliant to begin the new season.

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