Phil Kessel To Play with Abbotsford Canucks

By: Trent Leith / February 13, 2024  

The Canucks have been reportedly interested in Phil the Thrill Kessel since this summer and those rumours may be coming to a head.

About one hour before the game on Tuesday in Chicago, Rich Dhailiwal of Doni and Dahli on CHEK TV reported that Phil Kessel was expected to meet with the Canucks.

Of course, there has been a strong connection between Phil Kessel, Rick Tocchet, Patrick Allvin and Jim Rutherford. Kessel played in Pittsburgh with all three of Tocchet, Allvin and Rutherford and won two Stanley Cups with them.

Kessel later went on to play in Arizona with Tocchet once again the bench boss. Tocchet is regarded as “The Kessel Whisperer” as he is the one who was credited with getting the most production out of him.

Shortly after Rick’s reporting, the Canucks released a statement on social media stating: “Phil has made his way to Vancouver and will be working out in Abbotsford this week. “

Dhaliwal later reported that 3-4 teams have been in contact and are interested in the three-time Stanley Cup Champion.

The implication of Kessel playing in Abbotsford is to get into game shape and then potentially sign with the team if the Canucks like what they see from Phil. Of course, any other team may also sign him at any point still, but currently, the Canucks seem to have the inside track on a potential signing.

Kessel is not the pure goalscorer he once was, in 82 games for the Vegas Golden Knights last season, Kessel scored 14 goals and had 36 points. He also played four games with the Golden Knights on their road to the Stanley Cup, putting up 2 points in those outings. Since then, he has been a free agent and has not been playing professional hockey.

While Phil the Thrill isn’t likely to be a game-breaker for this team, he is the ideal veteran depth who we know can score in the NHL, and more importantly, score in the playoffs. Signing Kessel is great asset management because the Canucks don’t have to give up anything to add depth to their lineup.

There will likely be more details to follow once Kessel starts working out in Abbotsford.