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The idea of a former Bruins return has been shutdown

SEP 1, 2023   |   BY AUSTIN SABOURIN
In a surprising turn of events, Phil Kessel, a veteran winger and the NHL's current Iron Man, has expressed his willingness to give up his impressive streak of playing 1,064 consecutive games to secure a spot on an NHL team for the upcoming season. The Boston Bruins, who drafted Kessel fifth overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, seem to be an enticing potential destination, but several factors stand in the way of this full-circle story.

While Kessel's desire to play again in the 2023-24 season is admirable, the Bruins face challenges that make his return unlikely. The team is in the midst of a transition, incorporating younger talent while bidding farewell to key leaders like Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. However, Kessel's experience as a valued voice and leader with the Vegas Golden Knights during their Stanley Cup victory adds intrigue to the situation.

The Boston Bruins currently grapple with a crowded winger lineup and a shortage at the center position. Kessel's recent performance, with 14 goals and 22 assists in the regular season along with two assists in four playoff games for the Golden Knights, may not significantly outshine the potential of current bottom six wingers on the Bruins' roster. Additionally, with the team's commitment to nurturing young talent and the signing of veteran winger Alex Chiasson, Kessel's arrival could hinder opportunities for emerging players.

Financial constraints further complicate the situation. Even if the Bruins were to consider signing Kessel at a minimum salary on a bonus-based contract, their projected salary cap space of just $416,667, as reported by PuckPedia, presents a challenge.


The history between the Bruins and Kessel also plays a role. Their parting in the past, triggered by a contract dispute, left tensions that may be difficult to reconcile. Kessel's trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs resulted in a series of draft picks that did not fully pan out for the Bruins, creating an added layer of complexity to the potential reunion.

While the idea of Kessel returning to Boston might carry a hint of sweet irony, the combination of roster dynamics, financial limitations, and past history suggests that this reunion is unlikely to materialize. The makings of a compelling full-circle story exist, but the challenges at hand make it a distant possibility.

Source Bostonhockeynow
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