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Notable NHL Veterans Looking for Work for the 2023-24 Season

There are a number of veteran players still on the NHL market looking for new homes during the 2023-24 NHL season.

As September ushers in the 2023-24 season, the countdown to the regular games intensifies. Surprisingly, numerous free agents are still in search of new teams. There are some notable names on the list and it will be fascinating to see if anyone lands a contract or winds up with an NHL club on a PTO in the next few weeks.

Phil Kessel – (17 NHL Seasons and 1286 Regular Seasons GP)

Phil Kessel, a prominent former member of the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Arizona Coyotes, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Vegas Golden Knights, remains unsigned as the 2023-24 season approaches. Elliotte Friedman’s recent report suggests that Kessel, aged 35, is eager to continue playing and is willing to sacrifice his impressive Ironman streak if necessary to secure a new contract. He’s told teams he’s not worried about being an everyday NHL player but wants to help a team win.

Phil Kessel NHL free agent
Phil Kessel NHL free agent

This flexibility could make him an attractive option for potential suitors, potentially earning him a professional tryout (PTO) or a regular deal somewhere around the league minimum. He can sign a deal with performance bonuses, which adds to the number of teams that could make his contract work financially.

Kessel’s performance with the Vegas Golden Knights in the previous season reinforces his value. Playing all 82 games, he contributed 14 goals and 36 points. Even in limited minutes, he can contribute.

Patrick Kane – (16 NHL Seasons, 1180 Regular Season GP)

In a recent interview (as relayed by The Associated Press), the dynamic star Patrick Kane offered an eagerly awaited update on his recovery process, generating heightened anticipation among fans and potential NHL suitors regarding his possible return to the ice and his future destination. Kane, a former standout for the Chicago Blackhawks and the New York Rangers, is widely recognized as one of this era’s premier goal scorers but has been sidelined due to injury.

Patrick Kane NHL
Patrick Kane has a hip procedure done that will keep him out 4-6 months

He recently shared his upbeat outlook on his recovery, expressing, “It’s just exciting to see the progression and feel better on the ice, getting back to my old self—it’s pretty exciting.” He further revealed that his rehabilitation is ahead of schedule, instilling further hope in his return.

While he didn’t confirm he was going to attempt to make an early comeback, he did say, “If someone were to present an enticing offer and an appealing situation, I wouldn’t dismiss it solely based on my current circumstances.” Kane’s words have undoubtedly piqued the interest of NHL fans and general managers eagerly awaiting his return to the ice.

Tomas Tatar (11 NHL Seasons, 783 Regular Season GP)

Tomas Tatar is still out there and while the Pittsburgh Penguins have once again captured the spotlight because they are rumored to be the frontrunners to sign him, the forward may be waiting for more than a PTO invitation, which is likely all the Penguins can afford after trading for Erik Karlsson.

Tomas Tatar New Jersey Devils forward
Tomas Tatar New Jersey Devils forward

Tatar confirmed ongoing negotiations with the Penguins during an interview with Slovak website While he maintained an air of secrecy, Tatar revealed the existence of discussions with the Penguins, alluding to the possibility of joining the team. However, he emphasized that he is still exploring his options, including potential professional tryout (PTO) offers from multiple teams. While Tatar hinted at Pittsburgh as a viable choice, he underscored that a final decision remains pending. The Penguins’ pursuit of Tatar signifies their determination to bolster their roster, further enhancing the anticipation surrounding the team’s prospects for the upcoming season.

Nick Ritchie (8 NHL Seasons, 481 Regular Season Games)

Nick Ritchie, a former player for multiple NHL teams including the Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Arizona Coyotes, and Calgary Flames, is actively seeking a contract before the commencement of the upcoming season. The 2014 first-round draft pick had a challenging previous season, contributing 13 goals and 26 points over 74 games, divided between the Arizona Coyotes and Calgary Flames. Consequently, Ritchie remains unsigned, but his substantial size and tenacity present intriguing prospects.

Ritchie hasn’t lived up to expectations, but he possesses the potential to be a valuable contributor in a bottom-six role and can offer a physical presence.

Paul Stastny (17 NHL Seasons, 1145 Regular Season GP)

A veteran who has moved around a bit over his past few seasons — spending time with the Winnipeg Jets, Vegas Golden Knights, and Carolina Hurricanes — Paul Stastny could offer veteran leadership and depth to an organization looking for someone on a league-minimum contract with potential bonuses worked in. However, it’s not clear he’s returning to the NHL, Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff reported that he was given the indication Stastny was retiring.

Because that announcement hasn’t officially been made yet, he still counts as a player who could still join a team this summer.

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