As the Calgary Flames contemplate their next move, more free agents are finding new homes. One of those the Flames reportedly had interest in — Phil Kessel — found himself joining the Vegas Golden Knights late Wednesday. His one-year deal with the Knights might be a perfect match. But Phil the Thrill took some parting shots at the Arizona Coyotes, too.
“They said we were going to win and try to win and compete and obviously that’s not what happened and it’s going to be nice playing on a team that wants to win,” Kessel told reporters.
“When you want to win and everyone on the team wants to win, it’s a different feeling and a different vibe. Arizona, they had great guys. All the players, they’re great kids, and a lot of good people there. But when you don’t want to necessarily win and contend it becomes difficult as a player, especially when you came from Pittsburgh and I wanted to win.”
Flames move on, could zero in on Rodrigues
The Calgary Flames have made it clear they want to win now, which is why the veteran winger seemed like a possible fit. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Flames were interested on his podcast. The 34-year-old had eight goals last season but still finished with 44 assists and 52 points in 82 games with the last-place Coyotes. Setting a couple of tough seasons with Arizona aside, Kessel has been a consistent, proven 20-goal scorer.
And he’s motivated.
“When you get a chance to play on a good team that wants to win, you’re always looking forward to it,” Kessel said. “Over the last couple years, you get lost here (in Arizona), and people don’t view you anymore like you used to be viewed. And I don’t think that’s the case. I’m very motivated to come in here and help this team and try to contend. I’m very motivated, and I think I’m going to have a great year.”
The Flames, meanwhile, could be interested in another former Pittsburgh Penguins product — Evan Rodrigues.
One thing he won’t get in Vegas he could have had in Calgary: His No. 81. Jonathan Marchessault wears No. 81 with Vegas.
NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now:
Vegas Hockey Now: He could have had his number with the Calgary Flames. But with the Knights, it’s no more No. 81 for Phil Kessel.
Toronto Star: (Paywall). With a wink and some disdain, Damian Cox entered Patrick Kane to the Maple Leafs as the next great NHL trade rumor.
Montreal Hockey Now: The Calgary Flames Tkachuk sign-and-trade, was a rarity. There was almost another this summer between Montreal and the Edmonton Oilers. NHL trade chatter.
Montreal Hockey Now: Kirby Dach and the Canadiens are working on a new deal. The team is ringing in a new era. Montreal Canadiens.
NYI Hockey Now: The Islanders missed out on quite a few big-name free agents, like the Calgary Flames’ Nazem Kadri, but Lou Lamoriello still believes that the team has good pieces to put around Mat Barzal. New York Islanders
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Washington Hockey Now: The NHL has tiptoed around the problem, but if the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, they’ll face the political reality of denying a Russian team in the 2024 World Cup of Hockey.
Philly Hockey Now: The Flyers suck. At least that’s what head coach John Tortorella is telling his team that people think. Torts says they should be motivated. Philadelphia Flyers.