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Vegas Golden Knights

Unsigned Phil Kessel Contract Close, Spotted in Training Sessions

Phil Kessel has been spotted skating this week with an NHL club. Other reports suggest a contract is close. Where is he signing?

There is much anticipation as to where veteran NHL forward Phil Kessel will sign this season. Known for his consistent ability to score goals and his impressive Ironman streak, he’s yet to sign with an NHL club and seems to be having a hard time securing a deal with someone out of fear that a decline in production at his age and the fact the signing team would have to be OK with ending his streak, weeks out from the start of the 2023-24 season, he’s yet to find a home.

But, perhaps there was a hint this week as to his potential future. Chris Johnston of TSN reports, “It sounds like there’s some percolating interest from NHL teams in signing Phil Kessel to a contract for this season. The veteran forward isn’t in PTO territory at this juncture.”

Kessel was recently spotted training with an NHL team, specifically the Vegas Golden Knights. While Kessel has not yet secured an NHL contract or a professional tryout offer, his commitment to training indicates his intent to continue playing this season. That he’s training with the Golden Knights could be an indication that he might join the team again this season on a PTO, or that the franchise has been kind enough to give him a place to keep in shape while he awaits his future.

This development naturally stirs speculation about Kessel potentially rejoining the Golden Knights for another season, but it certainly doesn’t guarantee anything. The Golden Knights’ official training camp has not yet commenced, with the start date set for next week. They also don’t exactly have cap space for the player and a PTO likely wouldn’t lead to anything.

Kessel Can Still Help an NHL Team

During the previous season, Kessel showcased his durability by appearing in all 82 games for the Golden Knights, amassing 14 goals and 22 assists, resulting in 36 points. However, his playoff ice time was limited, potentially affecting his value as a free agent. If a team can find room for him and trusts him when he says he doesn’t care about his games-played streak, there could be a fit on a bonus-structured deal.

Kessel currently holds the NHL’s Ironman title, boasting an incredible streak of 1,076 consecutive games played. That he has expressed a willingness to embrace a more restricted role this season means he really wants to keep his playing career going.

Next: Paul Stastny Rejects PTO Offers, Seeks Guaranteed Contract

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