I am extremely excited to see Phil Kessel play with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
After all of the drama of his trade. Yes he will. No he won’t. Yep, he did.
After he was lambasted with a fat joke in the Toronto Sun.
Now he gets to play with an elite center. And we get to watch it unfold.
Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy put together an exceptional article looking at Kessel’s potential output.
Short answer: He could score an unbelievable number of goals.
The article is definitely worth a read. Here are some highlights:
It seems reasonable to expect a significant increase in Kessel’s production playing alongside either Crosby or Malkin (I don’t see how you don’t get him the most minutes possible, though), and we can at least guess at what those rates would look like using the above data. Here we’ll use the conservative data and encompass all of what Kessel has done in his career, regardless of centers, to see what Kessel might look like getting the Crosby/Malkin Bump rather than paying the Bozak Tax.
(This is, obviously, assuming he sticks to similar jumps experienced by all other players, on average.) .
These numbers might seem high (because, well, they are very, very high). “No one scores 4.65 goals per 60,” and so on. That’s true. Mostly. But those numbers compare pretty closely with the numbers when two of the best centers in the world are playing with other elite players, like Kris Letang, Malkin or Crosby. Hell, Crosby breaks 4 goals-for per 60 minutes — an extremely high number — when Paul Martin or Matt Niskanen is on the ice with him, so these numbers are within reach.
And let’s remind again: Kessel is just the sort of elite talent that neither Crosby nor Malkin have ever had long-term.
If Crosby can drag Chris Kunitz onto the Canadian Olympic team, he might just win Kessel a Rocket Richard, and he might do it walking away.
Because if those Crosby numbers hold up over the course of an entire year, based on Kessel’s average ice time per 82-game season (about 1236.5 minutes at 5-on-5), he’s going to be on the ice for 95 goals-for at evens alone. The most 5v5 goals-for for which anyone since 2007 has been on ice is Henrik Sedin’s 90 in 2009-10. Only two other guys even break 80. With Malkin, Kessel would tie for second at 83, with Nicklas Backstrom (also in 2009-10).