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2018 Player Report Card: Phil Kessel

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I can Phil it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Name: Phil Kessel

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

Age: 30 (31 on 10/2/2018)

2017/2018 Stats: GP: 82, G: 34, A: 58, P: 92

Playoffs: GP: 12, G: 1, A: 8, P: 9

Career Resume

Image via: hockeyDB

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Phil Kessel is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion. A+

Thanks for reading.

***

But seriously, Kessel only added to his legend status by coming into this season with high expectations and delivering on them. He was said to be in tremendous shape, according to Mike Sullivan’s early season accounts of the player. (Huh, crazy how times change... or do they?!)

And even going off the chart above, it’s easy to see whatever improvements Kessel made paid off in the points department. The stats Phil recorded this year were the ones Penguins fans were drooling over when the team traded for him on July 1, 2015.

Phil Kessel and Fancy Stats

Season Team GP TOI CF CA CF% FF FA FF% SF SA SF% GF GA GF% SCF SCA SCF% HDCF HDCA HDCF% HDGF HDGA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO Off. Zone Faceoffs Neu. Zone Faceoffs Def. Zone Faceoffs Off. Zone Faceoff %
Season Team GP TOI CF CA CF% FF FA FF% SF SA SF% GF GA GF% SCF SCA SCF% HDCF HDCA HDCF% HDGF HDGA HDGF% On-Ice SH% On-Ice SV% PDO Off. Zone Faceoffs Neu. Zone Faceoffs Def. Zone Faceoffs Off. Zone Faceoff %
20172018 PIT 82 1140 1133 1117 50.36 879 850 50.84 666 654 50.45 56 61 47.86 557 549 50.36 220 248 47.01 25 34 42.37 8.41 90.67 0.991 462 385 273 62.86
20162017 PIT 82 1105.7833333333 1011 1134 47.13 760 827 47.89 591 621 48.76 52 37 58.43 469 534 46.76 189 215 46.78 28 22 56.00 8.80 94.04 1.028 436 378 261 62.55
20152016 PIT 82 1132.0166666667 1158 991 53.89 860 766 52.89 652 563 53.66 54 39 58.06 539 482 52.79 205 189 52.03 32 18 64.00 8.28 93.07 1.014 448 363 261 63.19
20142015 TOR 82 1149.5166666667 1084 1274 45.97 823 974 45.80 602 713 45.78 41 63 39.42 497 673 42.48 185 266 41.02 20 28 41.67 6.81 91.16 0.980 376 413 379 49.80
20132014 TOR 82 1340.9166666667 1230 1557 44.13 926 1219 43.17 695 817 45.97 69 61 53.08 608 753 44.67 235 296 44.26 37 33 52.86 9.93 92.53 1.025 388 463 516 42.92
20122013 TOR 48 745.53333333333 723 841 46.23 513 635 44.69 368 442 45.43 39 33 54.17 323 375 46.28 128 146 46.72 26 19 57.78 10.60 92.53 1.031 211 273 229 47.95
20112012 TOR 82 1283.4 1294 1329 49.33 931 1016 47.82 683 713 48.93 64 70 47.76 647 656 49.65 241 261 48.01 35 37 48.61 9.37 90.18 0.996 375 400 332 53.04
20102011 TOR 82 1209.9666666667 1179 1349 46.64 848 985 46.26 597 698 46.10 47 60 43.93 559 623 47.29 191 207 47.99 24 23 51.06 7.87 91.40 0.993 337 360 331 50.45
20092010 TOR 70 1027.8666666667 1117 960 53.78 819 700 53.92 580 507 53.36 51 45 53.13 520 460 53.06 183 167 52.29 23 23 50.00 8.79 91.12 0.999 304 376 280 52.05
20082009 BOS 70 928.45 955 842 53.14 693 667 50.96 495 510 49.25 52 26 66.67 449 414 52.03 167 160 51.07 34 13 72.34 10.51 94.90 1.054 227 315 222 50.56
20072008 BOS 82 1017.9 944 825 53.36 708 656 51.91 513 498 50.74 40 44 47.62 430 384 52.83 151 160 48.55 20 27 42.55 7.80 91.16 0.990 239 326 277 46.32
Data via: Natural Stat Trick

Judging from the data, every major statistical category saw positive growth from 2016-17. Specifically, his CF% and FF% saw increases, with the team likely maintaining possession of the puck with Phil on the ice. Basically, everything that Phil touched turned to (Pittsburgh) gold.

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Season Splits and Miscellaneous Stats

Image via: Yahoo!
Image via: Yahoo!
Image via: Yahoo!

Consistency all across the board. Looking at the day-of-the-week splits, it’s clear that Saturdays did not belong to the boys. The day belonged to Phil Kessel.

Totaling 56 points in 41 home games is pretty, pretty, pretty good. It’s no wonder why the Penguins were a pain to play on home ice.

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Quotes and Tweets

Jesse’s tweet can be used in just about 1,000 different situations.

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Final Grades

Even Strength: A

For the sixth time in his career, Kessel registered 20 or more even strength goals in a season. He also amassed the third-largest amount of even strength assists in his career with a total of 28 apples.

Special Teams: A

A deadly force on the power-play, Phil tied his career high in power-play goals with 12. Kessel also set a new career high in power-play assists with 30. A 5-man combination that includes Kessel, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin is just so terrifying, even when reflecting on the season. Kessel played his part in helping Pittsburgh lead the league in power-play goals (68) and power-play percentage (26.2%).

Durability: A

Kessel’s durability certainly became a hot-button issue towards the end of the Penguins playoff run. The 12-year veteran has not missed a regular season game since the 2009-10 season. In total, he’s played in 622 consecutive regular season games. That’s insanity. From those who have reported on it, it’s said that Kessel takes a lot pride in his iron man streak. Was this a contributing factor to Kessel looking like a completely different player once the playoff run came around? Maybe. Maybe not. Mike Sullivan and Jim Rutherford both said that Kessel wasn’t anymore hurt than anyone else on the team after the season ended.

Read as much into this situation as you want to. But Kessel and the rest of the Penguins roster are receiving a longer and much-deserved break this summer. With that, Kessel may come into 2018-19 with a rebooted system, ready to light the lamp once again.

Playoffs: B

Kessel’s aforementioned playoff run was... ehh? Ok? Fans were certainly expecting more from Kessel after watching him rack up 92 points. It’s obvious something was affecting Kessel, whether it was wear-and-tear or something more severe. 9 points in 12 games is a respectable stat line given the circumstances.

Overall Grade: A

FINAL WORD: This was obviously Kessel’s best season as a Penguin and as a professional. Will he accrue 92 points again next season? Probably not, but Kessel has solidified himself as a go-to player in the Penguins’ offense.

Kessel’s name has been floated around in trade rumors. A rift with the coach, a lazy player, yada, yada, yada. The fact is, when Kessel is in the lineup and playing well, he’s damn near unstoppable. And any trade that involves Kessel will almost certainly not end well for the Penguins. After the Ilya Kovalchuk deal, one in which a 35-year-old who hasn't played in the NHL since 2013 is making $550,000 less than Kessel, that tells me The Thrill is playing at a bargain for the Pens.

His shot will remain poetry in motion, his spirit will continue to ignite the Penguins and fans, and I, for one, hope that this American hero remains a Penguin until the end of time.

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Poll

How would you grade Phil Kessel’s 2017-18 season?

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    A
    (452 votes)
  • 10%
    B
    (53 votes)
  • 3%
    C
    (16 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (1 vote)
522 votes total Vote Now