Fun With Numbers: Ranking Kessel’s Production

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About a month ago, we took a look at Phil Kessel’s production, including the on-pace numbers for this season and (theoretically) projected 82-game statistics.

With 10 games left to go in the season, perhaps it’s time we re-visit and update those predictions — this time in the context of other “name” or “impact” players to see just where exactly Phil Kessel ranks, production-wise, among the league’s elite.

As many of you know, I have remained a firm supporter of the trade for Phil Kessel that saw three future draft picks go to the Boston Bruins. Future unknowns for a 22 year old sniper whose top-line abilities at the NHL level (read: 35-40 goal scorer) are known? Sign me up. Of course, I do recognize that places me in the vast minority among bloggers and writers (for example, a blogger for The Hockey News boldly endorsed Hall and Seguin as future superstars the other day – I wonder if he’s willing to loan out his crystal ball?).

However, how many of you would have been on board with that trade if the return was Rick Nash? Or Patrick Kane? Or Eric Staal? I’m willing to bet quite a few based on comments made on this site over the past year.

Let’s keep that in mind as we take a look at the numbers, shall we?

Current Production
PlayerCapGPGAPtsPPGPPASOG
Kessel5.40m (’14)6028235187268
Ryan1.90m (’10)70312556107224
Staal8.25m (’16)602335581210234
Nash7.80m (’18)68302959911230
Carter5.00m (’11)723327601110310
Semin6.00m (’11)63333871717242
Parise3.13m (’11)70333770813301
Kane6.3m (’14)71275380917231

On Pace Production
PlayerCapGPGAPtsPPGPPASOG
Kessel5.40m (’14)6832265898305
Ryan1.90m (’10)81362965128259
Staal8.25m (’16)682640661411267
Nash7.80m (’18)773433671013262
Carter5.00m (’11)823831691311353
Semin6.00m (’11)72384381819276
Parise3.13m (’11)81384381915348
Kane6.3m (’14)823161921020267

Projected Full Season
PlayerCapGPGAPtsPPGPPASOG
Kessel5.40m (’14)823831691110366
Ryan1.90m (’10)82362965128262
Staal8.25m (’16)823248701614321
Nash7.80m (’18)823635711113276
Carter5.00m (’11)823831691311353
Semin6.00m (’11)82434992922315
Parise3.13m (’11)82394382915352
Kane6.3m (’14)823161921020267

Taking a look at the comparisons above, a couple conclusions can be drawn:

  • Phil Kessel is having a near-identical offensive season to Rick Nash, for $2.4m less of a cap hit.
  • Kessel’s projected 82-game season results in identical offense to Jeff Carter, another name Leafs fans have discussed ad nauseum the past two seasons.
  • Over 82 games, Kessel would be on pace to outscore such franchise players as Nash, Patrick Kane, and Eric Staal, all of whom play with more established linemates.  He would also be in the same goal-scoring neighbourhood as Zach Parise and Alexander Semin.  As his young linemates continue to develop, Kessel’s assist count should rise to levels consistent with the aforementioned players.
  • Alexander Semin and Zach Parise are studs … and their contracts are up after 2010-11 … just sayin’.

The long of the short of it is, the Leafs got themselves one heck of a good player in Phil Kessel. Whether or not the trade ends up being lopsided is a matter for debate three to four years from now. How the draft picks sent for Kessel turn out is anyone’s guess at this point, although it is worth mentioning that scouting projections have yet to place either in the “superstar” category.

Meanwhile, Kessel’s production has come at a rate which places him — statistically speaking (as in, factually-speaking) — among the league’s best-known “franchise” scoring forwards, in the category just below that of true superstars such as Ovechkin and Crosby.

That’s a good thing, folks.

Looking forward to your thoughts as always,

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