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Phil Kessel sustained hand injury in round 1 of the playoffs, had surgery

So he was playing through an injury the entire time.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins' 2016 Stanley Cup win wouldn't have happened without Phil Kessel. The Pens made a statement when they acquired him last off-season, and that statement rang through loud and clear.

Sure, there may have been some criticism throughout the regular season, even though he ended up with 59 points as the Penguins' third-highest scorer. But the playoffs were another animal altogether.

Kessel led the Penguins in scoring with 10 goals and 22 points through 24 playoff games. And apparently, he did almost all of it while injured.

Sixteen of Kessel's 22 points came in the final three rounds of the playoffs, including a three-point performance in the game 6 series winner over the Washington Capitals. All with a hand injured badly enough to require surgery. And he finished just three points out of winning the Conn Smythe.

Guys? I think Kessel might be a good heart and soul player.