Golden Knights sign veteran Phil Kessel, give update on Lehner
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The Golden Knights signed veteran forward Phil Kessel to a one year, $1.5 million dollar contract to help beef up the scoring and add a two time Stanley Cup champion to the lineup.
Kessel has played 16 NHL seasons and has played in 982 consecutive games, just seven shy of the all-time NHL record. He has scored 399 goals and has 557 assists. Kessel won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins and thinks Vegas gives him an opportunity to win a third.
“There was a couple of choices but I thought Vegas was a great fit,” Kessel said. “They have great players and are a great organization. They want to win and want to complete and the older you get you realize that’s what you want.”
Kessel has only worn number 81 in his NHL career, which is Jonathan Marchessault’s number. But Kessel said he will be changing numbers with the Golden Knights and Marchessault will remain number 81.
The Golden Knights also gave an update on injured goalie Robin Lehner, who will have double hip surgery and will be out for the season. Lehner has already had surgery on one hip and the other surgery will happen later.
General Manager Kelly McCrimmon, who did not speak to the media after the Lehner announcement was made last month, provided a better timeline as to how the surgery decisions happened. McCrimmon says Lehner had shoulder surgery right after the season and after a few weeks of rehabilitation, Lehner went to Sweden. When he returned in late July with his hip still bothering him, doctors for the Golden Knights had an MRI done to get a clearer picture.
“We then had our medical staff travel with Robin to Nashville where he saw a specialist in this field and a decision was made collectively to do the surgery was now,” McCrimmon said.
With Lehner out for the season, McCrimmon says the team is going with a goalie tandem of Laurent Brossoit and Logan Thompson. Brossoit is also recovering from an injury and McCrimmon admitted it’s not known if he’'ll be ready for the start of the season.
The Golden Knights have one player left unsigned, restricted free agent Nic Hague. McCrimmon said signing Hague to a deal was a priority and he hoped to have it done before the start of training camp in September.
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