Canucks: Phil Kessel will join Abbotsford; To start working out

2023 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five
2023 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Vancouver Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin announced Tuesday evening that Phil Kessel would be joining the Canucks, though Kessel isn't jumping straight to Vancouver.

The Canucks released a short statement on the matter, stating, "Phil has made his way to Vancouver and will be working out in Abbotsford this week."

Kessel, 36, last played for the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2023 NHL Playoffs, scoring two assists across four playoff games. In the regular season, the three-time Stanley Cup champion scored 14 goals, 22 assists, and 36 points in 82 games played.

The Canucks won't have to worry about managing Kessel's ironman streak, as it technically broke in the playoffs after the former Golden Knight was scratched in the first round against the Winnipeg Jets. Kessel does, however, have a regular season ironman streak, which would remain tenuous at best given the depth of Vancouver's roster.

Kessel also has a history with current Canucks bench boss Rick Tocchet. Tocchet was an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins during Kessel's time there; the two won back-to-back Stanley Cups there. The longtime Toronto Maple Leafs forward spent four years in Pittsburgh, scoring more than 20 goals in each of those four years.

In the two Stanley Cup runs, Kessel scored 22 points in 24 games and 23 points in 25 games, respectively. He also scored a career-high 92 points in the 2017-18 season, though that version of Kessel is probably long gone for the Canucks.


Overall, though, the Canucks are adding 100 games of playoff experience in Kessel if or when he does officially sign with the team. His fit with the team is to be determined, though the Canucks did recently demote Ilya Mikheyev to the fourth line. They could also slide newcomer Elias Lindholm back to the center position and create a winger spot that way.