The Vegas Golden Knights landed one of the biggest remaining free agents on the market Wednesday evening, as they were able to sign Phil Kessel to a one-year, $1.5 million deal.
Kessel, 34, is no longer the elite offensive winger he was during his prime years with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins, but proved this past season that he can still put up solid numbers. On an Arizona Coyotes team that ranked dead last in the NHL in the goals scored category, he managed 52 points.
“Phil is an established NHL veteran who has enjoyed great success,” said Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon. “He’s been consistently productive over his entire career. He’s been a Stanley Cup Champion on two occasions. He has a high-end skill set that’s unique in some respects to the rest of our forwards, which is where some of the appeal is to us.”
Getting Phil Kessel at just $1.5 million is a very good contract for the Golden Knights, one in which he will almost certainly outperform. That said, given the serious cap complication the team find themselves in, one has to question whether this signing was necessary or not. This is a team who is already loaded with several offensive weapons, but could really use a goaltender with Robin Lehner being ruled out for the entire 2022-23 season. This signing would seem to even further suggest we will see a Logan Thompson/Michael Hutchinson duo, which doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.
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