NHL Notebook: Canucks host Phil Kessel for workout and Flyers name Sean Couturier 20th captain in franchise history

Photo credit:Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
2 months ago
Phil Kessel could be nearing a return to the NHL as the Vancouver Canucks have hosted the three-time Stanley Cup winner for a workout.
Kessel, 36, entered this season without a contract for the first time in his 17-year career, but the red-hot Canucks could look to sign the winger.
Last season Kessel played in all 82 regular season games with the Vegas Golden Knights, averaging the lowest amount of ice-time in his entire career, playing 12:49 per night. Despite that, he still put up an impressive amount of points scoring 14 goals and 36 points — 25 of which came at 5v5.
Among all forwards who played 457 5v5 minutes or more, half of Kessel’s ice time, his 1.64 5v5 points per hour ranked 198th out of 398 skaters, right below the average rate of 1.7.
On Wednesday’s edition of Daily Faceoff Live, Tyler Yaremchuk and Frank Seravalli discussed the possibility of Kessel landing with his sixth NHL team.
Tyler Yaremchuk: Phil Kessel is going to be joining the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL team. He’s going to be skating in Abbotsford for the next little bit, Frank, a trial of sorts between Kessel and the Canucks. What do you make of this? Kessel last season, when you look at his regular season numbers, played in all 82 games for the Vegas Golden Knights, scored 14 goals, almost hit the 40-point mark as well. But he was healthy scratched in all but four playoff games for Vegas during their Stanley Cup run. Do ou think Kessel has enough left in the tank to actually make an impact for this Canucks team?
Frank Seravalli: I personally don’t. I understand why it’s worth the gamble. I mean, if you look at Vancouver’s lineup and if you want to call them holes — for me, not really many holes considering the success that they’ve had — but Pius Suter right now at second-line left wing, Nils Höglander … they’ve been trying a bunch of different fits to find chemistry and haven’t been able to really nail down those spots yet. So, there is an opening. For me, when I look at Kessel and his production, obviously, he’s a very talented player and a clutch playoff performer. But when you have the Vegas Golden Knights last year determine that for 18 games, their lineup was better with him not in it than in it, that, to me, is a huge red flag and probably a big reason why a lot of teams resisted the urge to this point, even though they’ve remained in contact with the Kessel camp, to bring him in.

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Coots is captain

After spending all of last season captainless following the 2022 trade of Claude Giroux, the Philadelphia Flyers have named Sean Couturier their 20th captain in franchise history.
He joins a long list of NHL legends to don the ‘C’ in Philly, including Bobby Clarke, Eric Lindros, Keith Primeau, Mike Richards, and most recently, Giroux.
“Sean Couturier is an ideal choice to be the next leader of the Philadelphia Flyers,” general manager Daniel Briere said in a statement, released through the team. “Sean was drafted here and has made Philadelphia his home. I have personally seen his development from a responsible forward to one of the best two-way centermen in the game and a playoff performer. The adversity he has had to overcome has only strengthened his proven leadership. In this New Era of Orange with Dan Hilferty, Keith Jones and John Tortorella at the helm, we couldn’t be more proud to call him captain.”
The Flyers also named Travis Konecny and Scott Laughton alternate captains.
Couturier, who wore the ‘A’ behind Giroux, was drafted by the Flyers eighth overall in the 2011 draft, and has spent his entire career in the City of Brotherly Love. While he played all of his rookie season in the NHL, his second year saw him spend 31 games with the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms.
But since, he’s been a staple developing — as Briere said — into a premier two-way player. He’s scored 191 goals and 493 points in 771 games, with his best offensive season coming in 2018-19, when he scored career-highs with 33 goals and 76 points.

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@thenationnetwork.com.

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