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Report: Kessel not in Coyotes' plans and is eyeing trade to contender

Norm Hall / National Hockey League / Getty

It appears Phil Kessel is a prime candidate to be traded during the 2021-22 season.

"Kessel is in the final year of his contract with the Arizona Coyotes. We also know that (general manager) Bill Armstrong and the Coyotes have defined the direction that they're going in, and that will not include Phil Kessel," TSN's Darren Dreger said on Tuesday's edition of "Insider Trading."

"He wants a fresh start, he wants to earn a new contract somewhere in the National Hockey League," Dreger continued. "He's got some no-trade protection, he wants to go to a competitive, if not a contending team, if you will.

"He's got the big cap hit, but the salary is only $1 million. So if you have an injury, or team that's struggling offensively, he could be a fit later in the season."

Kessel is entering the final campaign of an eight-year, $64-million contract signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013. The Coyotes, meanwhile, parted with several significant assets this past summer while beginning a full-scale rebuild.

Arizona acquired Kessel from the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2019. There's a list of eight teams he'd accept a trade to in his contract, according to Cap Friendly.

The 34-year-old registered 20 goals and 23 assists over 56 contests last season while averaging 17 minutes per game. His active Ironman streak of 900 consecutive games is the fifth-longest in NHL history. However, the impressive feat could be in jeopardy because he's been sidelined with a foot injury during training camp.

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