So what kind of player did we get with Phil Kessel? We just acquired a guy who can skate extremely fast and if you were impressed with Stalberg’s speed in the first preseason game you haven’t seen anything yet because Kessel is even faster. Speed is not the only factor in his game because he possesses one of the most accurate and quick shots in the league. There is a reason he is called a sniper and that is due to his knack for putting the puck in the back of the net. Kessel is a prolific dangler and he can make many high class defensemen look seriously amateur at times. The prospects of him being there on our first line is exciting and definitely makes me want to get the November when he is back in action after his injury.
There has been talk of his rotator cuff injury diminishing any advances he has made in the past three years. I think that Burke would have looked into this with great attention and we should trust them in this aspect of the trade. The other major argument by critics has been the fact that Kessel doesn’t have anyone to feed him the puck like Savard did for him in Boston. I think that’s a silly statement to make because you always need someone to finish the goals off. It’s not as if Kessel was always standing at the side of the net and tapping in passes from Savard. I personally believe you could put anyone with Kessel and he will excel due to his top class abilities as a sniper.
Many people have started assembling their first line now that we have Kessel. I see him playing with Blake and Hagman on the first line because these two will compliment his game quite well. Jason Blake is extremely quick and will be able to skate at Kessel’s pace causing both of them to have a great time especially when the chemistry between the two develops. I put Hagman there because he makes things happen and his vision on the ice is underrated big time. He makes sweet passes that go undetected by fans and that’s unfortunate. If they decide that Hagman is not the right guy they could possibly put someone like Stajan up there on the first line but I don’t see that happening.
All in all this is going to be an interesting season with the arrival of Kessel. Obviously no one will be cheering for the Leafs to do bad this year and I have to thank Burke for that. I was getting sick and tired of tank nation and now Burke has buried that for a while.