Kudos to Kessel
“A Toronto Maple Leaf leads the league in scoring.”
Saying it out loud still sounds strange. But after two and a half weeks of action, Toronto’s Phil Kessel sits alone at the top of the scoring race.
With nine goals and 15 points through eight games, Kessel has shocked the hockey world. The much maligned Leafs’ forward is finally playing at a level that justifies the two first-round picks the Leafs gave up to acquire him.
Kessel has had 30 and 32 goals in his previous seasons with the Leafs. He was an all-star last season (albeit the last one picked.)
He has played at a respectable level, but has been a notably streaky scorer, having brilliant streaks followed by lengthy droughts.
Kessel also finished last year a minus-20, showing his weakness as a two way forward.
This year, Kessel is currently on pace to score 92 goals. An unrealistic goal (some delusional fans may argue otherwise), but Kessel should certainly break the 40-goal plateau for the first time in his career.
His speed and quick shot make him a threat to score anywhere inside the blue line. He’s been scoring at clutch points in games, with two game winners already.
Along with Joffrey Lupul, Kessel has made the Leafs first line look like exactly that’s a top line!
It will be interesting to see how they perform when centre Tim Connolly returns from injury, but for now the line is rolling.
The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t had a real superstar since the departure of Mats Sundin.
The team has only been known for losing, and not the performance of any one player. But Kessel’s quick start has grabbed league wide attention.
If he can continue this play all the way to the postseason, then he will achieve superstar status in hockey’s biggest market.