Kessel Contract Was In Order, If You Take Everything Into Account.

Posted: October 2, 2013 in HOCKEY
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Jason Head_Shot 2[1]

By Jason Sutcliffe

There has been discussion surrounding Phil Kessel and his new long term contract that has him making $8 million-a-year for the next 8 seasons. There are a lot of people who believe that Kessel is not worth that, and the Leafs have grossly overpaid for him.

There are some glaring faults in Phil’s game that is for sure. However, if you look at Phil Kessel based on performance he is right where he should be in regards to his scoring. He was 8th in the league, 6th the year before that. Both years he was a handful of points away from cracking the top five in the league.

It is true that, guys like Crosby and a few others missed a bunch of games and may have finished higher than Phil, but that is part of the deal. Phil is reliable and durable; he has not missed a game in the past three seasons. It has been almost impossible to keep all of our scorers healthy, but Phil has been a mainstay in our lineup.

At the end of the day, what this comes down to for me, is simple; how many people are there that can do what Phil Kessel does, and out of those players how many are available during the next off-season. Phil was quite possibly going to walk next July, and you can not just replace a point-a-game guy. There are less than 10 in the league, and we have one.

Also, Phil proved he was able to perform in the playoffs, and did so facing the team he has had the most trouble scoring against. He had 6 points in 7 games.

I am not a fan of certain parts of Phil Kessel’s game, but I am a realist, and just letting Phil Kessel go is not an option. It is extremely hard to snag players who have the upside of Phil Kessel.

One stat that jumped out at me though was that last year Phil was a –4. That is unacceptable if you are going to be our big scorer I would think that being a plus hockey player is imperative. Phil will have to continue to improve defensively, and become a little more aggressive along the boards in order to become a complete hockey player, and gain the confidence of the best hockey fans in the world.

The added depth and secondary scoring added to the Leafs lineup should open up the game for Phil a little bit. Teams can no longer just shut down our top line and walk away with two points. Our lineup will force teams to spread out their defensive specialists putting some of the focus on our 2nd and 3rd lines. If Phil can stay healthy, this could be the year that he breaks the top 5 in league scoring. GO LEAFS GO!!!

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