Phil Kessel


It’s almost a certainty that the Toronto Maple leafs are going to trade Phil Kessel this offseason.

Kessel is a controversial figure because many NHL observers question his conditioning and commitment.

But, what they don’t see, is a player who, despite a season of total dysfunction in Toronto, is one of the best pure goal scorers  in the league.

I’ve always thought that Kessel and Taylor Hall were pretty much synonymous so let take a look at at their respective stats since Hall entered the league.


Hall – 20G 22A 42P

Kessel – 32G 32 64P


Hall – 27G 26A 43

Kessel – 37G  45A 82P

12/13 (lockout season)

Hall – 16G 34A 50P

Kessel – 20G 32A 52P


Hall – 23G 52A 80P

Kessel – 37G 43A 80P


Hall – 14G 24A  38P

Kessel – 25G 36A 61P

There is not much doubt that Kessel is a better hockey player than Hall.

The last 5 seasons don’t lie.

What should the Leafs expect to get back in a trade for Kessel?

We have to remember than Kessel is under contract for the next 7 seasons at a cap hit of $8M. (details here)

But that’s not the whole story.

Kessel’s contract is structured in an odd way with, for example, $10M in salary due next season PLUS a $4M signing bonus.

That kind of dough likely makes Kessel an unattractive proposition to any team operating on an internal budget. And when you consider how many teams are already cap strapped next season, the number of possible destinations for Kessel is actually quite small unless Toronto is willing to take a big contract in return.



7 thoughts on “Phil Kessel

  1. Any particular reason you just used point totals instead of points per game?

    Also seems odd to not compare them respective to the careers ie compare Kessel and Hall through their rookie seasons up.

    Hall . 65 .87 1.11 1.07 0.72
    Kessel .41 . 45 .86 .79 .78

    I think you could say Kessel at the same time period that Kessel was and probably always be a better goal scorer but not sure making the claim that he is the better player at this point in time is fair.


      1. OK.

        Same time period Hall’s production

        299 games played* (includes lockout)
        263 points
        .88 ppg

        374 games played
        245 points
        .66 ppg

        If your arguement is that Kessel is a superior player I don’t see it any of the numbers at least when comparing their careers at similar junctions. If you want to argue that Kessel may have more value to a team in comparison due to Hall’s history of injuries there might be merit but I don’t think they are remotely close as comparison.

        Any reason you chose these two for comparables? Don’t seem to be very similar players except that they are number one wingers on pretty bad hockey teams.

        Wouldn’t comparing Kessel to another right winger with a similar contract and age make more sense? Maybe Patrick Kane. Both US born players, both high picks in similar time frames, both smaller goal scorers, big contracts, some colour around their off ice story though the comparable falls apart pretty much falls apart after that as Kane is clearly the superior player.

        I just don’t see any tangible similarities between Hall and Kessel to bother comparing them.


        1. In the past 5 seasons:

          Hall – 106G 263P

          Kessel – 151G 339P

          Kessel is ahead by a very wide margin but you have to credit Hall with being younger.

          Both players are the same size, with great skating ability and a penchant for poor defensive play and on ice petulance.

          The comparison to Hall is NOT random…they are very similar players and the Oilers could face similar issues with Hall if they aren’t careful.


          1. They are random because your article doesn’t explain why we you chose to compare them and then make no other point other than that according to you Kessel is better than Hall.

            Then you go back to talking about how the Leafs will struggle trading Kessel.

            Hence its pretty random.


          2. Or put another way

            Same time period

            Kessel .90 ppg age 23 – 27
            Hall .88 ppg age 18 – 22

            Kessel same age .66 ppg

            I’m not sure what you constitute as “superior” but a 0.02 ppg difference with a 5 year age gap would be a reach.

            I will say Kessel had been a bit of an iron man over the past 5 years which seems to contradict the lazy story line for him.

            Maybe pick a better comparable next time, something that makes sense or round out your thesis more before grabbing random players for no reason.


  2. Also just in general this is very odd article, I agree that Kessel is going to be difficult to trade with his contract but that he brings a valuable skill set with the way he score but the random Taylor Hall comparable makes no sense.

    Why are comparing Kessel to anyone especially Hall, doesnt make any sense.

    Sorry I just don’t get the random comparison as I haven’t heard anyone comparing those players before


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