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Vegas Golden Knights

Kessel Open to Ending Ironman Streak



Phil Kessel, Vegas Golden Knights (Photo- NHL via Twitter)
Phil Kessel, Vegas Golden Knights (Photo- NHL via Twitter)

Former Vegas Golden Knight and current Ironman Phil Kessel remains without a team this season. Kessel was serviceable with 14 goals and 22 assists last season. Why does Kessel remain without a team just a few weeks out to training camp?

Elliotte Friedman reported that Kessel is open to ending the Ironman streak. That should create opportunities with teams that have greater depth. A contender would not want to sign Kessel with the pressure of having to play him every single night.

Vegas knows very well what Kessel brings to a locker room. Reliability, consistency, and a boost to team morale.

Jonathan Marchessault and Jack Eichel have been very public about Kessel’s influence on the positive culture of the Golden Knights. Any contending team that has locker-room issues should be calling Kessel right now.

General manager Kelly McCrimmon signed Kessel roughly a month before last season started. It is a safe bet that Kessel will be fielding some calls soon now that teams know he is willing to end the Ironman streak.

Potential landing spots for Kessel

It is safe to assume that Kessel will only consider teams that have a reasonable chance for a deep playoff run. A good fit for Kessel would be a talented team that lacks playoff experience.

Minnesota Wild: Marc-Andre Fleury and Kessel were teammates for the Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup victories in 2016 and 2017. Kessel would bring a wealth of experience to assist Kirill Kaprizov, Matt Boldy, and Marco Rossi. The Wild have $1.6 million of cap space available.

Florida Panthers: The Panthers gained great experience last season. They also lost their composure a number of times against the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final. Matthew Tkachuk could learn a thing or two from Kessel. The cap space is there pending LTIR candidates.

Buffalo Sabres: Kessel’s Ironman streak started two years prior to the last time the Sabres qualified for the playoffs. The scenario may not be ideal for the Ironman. But a case can be made that the Sabres are close to making the playoffs. Could Kessel’s leadership get the Sabres into the playoffs for the first time since 2011?

Golden Knights: Kessel knows the Golden Knights and the Golden Knights know Kessel. Last season was not spectacular for the 35-year-old. It is a safe bet that Kessel could improve on last season’s 36 points. A team can never have too much depth, as the Golden Knights learned over the last two seasons. The Golden Knights have $851,000 in cap space available.

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