There were not too many dominant players in the National Hockey League from the United States for a long time and while several have come along in the last few years, there is one who may slip under the radar. That would be Phil Kessel, who is playing across the border for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kessel has scored in four straight games and has 11 points in the first 13 games this year for Toronto.
Kessel had a career year last season with 82 points or a point a game while scoring 37 goals. Kessel has topped 30 goals four straight years and while he likely won’t this year because of the lockout, Kessel could easily get to the 20-goal mark. Kessel is experiencing a slow start with putting the puck in the net in having just two goals so far but with Toronto being at 8-5 for the year, I don’t think Kessel is too worried about it right now.
There will be fans in the NHL who remember during the first fantasy draft for the All-Star Game that Kessel was the last player taken. I never understood why neither team wanted Kessel on their squad because of what he can do on the ice. Toronto is cruising along while scoring three goals a game but when players like James van Riemsdyk stop scoring on a consistent basis, it is going to be up to Kessel to pick up the slack. Kessel may be under the radar for a lot of causal fans but anyone who knows hockey knows exactly what Kessel can do and will do for the Maple Leafs.