Kessel will have to Reach a New Level

May 5th, 2010 by Ryan Fancey Leave a reply »
Though Phil Kessel has wowed Leafs fans over the past six months, I believe he’s still only brushed the surface of his potential. And I don’t think it’s unfair for me (or you) to expect more of him in the future.

That’s not a knock on his performance or skill level. If anything, it’s a testament to both.

Despite his greatness with the Bruins in 2008-09, where he racked up 36 goals, Kessel simply looked better as a Leaf. He thrived as the primary weapon in his limited time with the Buds this past season, and his pace escalated as the season wore on and he found his rhythm.

The reason for this being partly that No. 81 was rushed into the lineup to aid a Leafs roster that wasn’t even competitive early on in the season. At first he looked gassed after every trip down the ice, but still managed put up decent numbers despite clearly being out of game shape.

A shoulder surgery that Kessel required last year sidelined him for the first month of the Leafs schedule, and he was pushed to step in as quick as possible when Toronto came out of the gate totally flat. He delivered, but couldn’t keep it up for ...

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