Phil Kessel is looking for his next team after winning his third Stanley Cup with the Vegas Golden Knights. Many fans have hoped that his free agency could mean a possible reunion with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Kessel spent four years of his 17-year career in Pittsburgh, winning Cups in his first two years with the club. But Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s Dave Molinari shares that a reunion is less than likely. Molinari shares that Pittsburgh’s current roster building is focused around fleshing out their bottom-six. And while Kessel, who scored 36 points in 82 games last year, may be able to provide some exciting bottom-six scoring, he doesn’t fit the checking-line style that Pittsburgh is targeting. The Hockey News’ Nick Horwat is similarly doubtful that Kessel is set for a Pittsburgh reunion, adding that Kessel doesn’t have the defensive acumen that new Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas has prioritized.
More from the Eastern Conference:
- Brad Marchand and the Boston Bruins are entering unfamiliar territory as they begin a season without Patrice Bergeron. Marchand spoke extensively about what Bergeron’s absence means for the team. NHL.com’s Eric Russo says that the Bruins winger will need to take on a larger portion of the leadership load. But when asked about the likelihood that he could take on the next captaincy, Marchand said that he’s not thinking about it much and that, regardless of the next captain, the Bruins will need to collectively lift each other up to help match Bergeron’s impact.
- Sam Reinhart is entering the final year of his contract and beginning to consider his future with the Florida Panthers. Reinhart has never been an unrestricted free agent, signing his most recent deal as a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. But despite the freedom being a UFA provides, Reinhart says he’d like to stay in Florida. Speaking to the expiring contract, he said, “It is not something I stress over or lose sleep over too much. They know I want to be here, I know they want me here.”