NHL Notebook: Phil Kessel willing to sacrifice ironman streak to play this season and multiple players announce retirement

Photo credit:Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
10 months ago
Phil Kessel’s Ironman streak is on the line.
The 35-year-old veteran of 17 NHL seasons is willing to put his record of 1,064 straight regular season games on the line to play again this season, Kessel told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Currently unsigned, Kessel spent last season with the Vegas Golden Knights lifting the Stanley Cup for the third time in his career. He appeared in all 82 games last year scoring 36 points, but suited up for just four playoff matchups.
Here’s more from Daily Faceoff’s Vasili Gianarakos:
The fact Kessel has communicated to organizations he is willing to concede his iron man streak to secure another NHL contract may improve his chances of receiving another opportunity to play in the NHL this upcoming season.
Kessel has been one of the NHL’s most intriguing players throughout his 17-year career, which can be attributed to the adversity he has faced. From battling testicular cancer and winning, to overcoming his often-critiqued tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs. There’s been no shortage of challenges for Kessel to prevail over as his career has elapsed.
The three-time Stanley Cup champion has collected 400 goals and 992 points in 1,286 career games. Kessel also has six 30-plus goal seasons and four 80-plus point campaigns to his name. With the winger putting up a combined 22 goals over his last two seasons, one must wonder if another NHL team takes a flyer on the veteran as training camp approaches. The iron man streak no longer being Kessel’s primary concern should up his chances of potentially receiving an NHL contract.


Hanging them up

Two players have announced their retirement this past week as long-time NHL forwards Joonas Donskoi and Carl Hagelin separately announced their retirements.
Donskoi, 31, retired earlier in the week citing concussion issues.
“After suffering multiple concussions over my career I’ve decided to retire from professional hockey,” Donskoi wrote in a statement published to Instagram on Sunday. “It is extremely hard to let go of something have put your whole life into, but at this point I know it’s the right decision for my own well being and future.
“I got to live my dream of being an NHL player, which I’m extremely blessed and grateful for. I think I was able to reach my own potential, which was always my biggest goal.”
Drafted by the Florida Panthers in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Donskoi appeared in 474 NHL games with the San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche and most recently, the Seattle Kraken. He scored 80 goals and 208 points.
On Wednesday, Hagelin announced his retirement after missing all of last season recovering from eye, and hip injuries.
“It’s been an amazing ride but it ends here. Unfortunately, my eye injury is too severe to keep playing the game I love,” Hagelin said. “I’m extremely grateful for all the memories hockey has given me and I’ve loved every single day of it.
“I’m gonna miss going to battle with my teammates on a daily basis, I’m gonna miss the ups and downs of a season. Nothing excites me more than stepping on the ice in front of 20,000 passionate fans,” Hagelin continued. “I want to thank all my amazing teammates, coaches, Doctors and other staff members that I’ve met and played with throughout the years.
“Lastly, I want to thank my family, my wife and my kids for all their support. They made it possible for me to live out my dream.”
The 35-year-old was a sixth round pick of the New York Raners in 2007 appearing in 713 games over 11 years with them, the Anaheim Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals He scored 110 goals and 296 points. Hagelin won two Stanley Cups in his career, both with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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