There’s really no question who’s getting this job. The most skilled player on the team from the moment he was brought here, Phil Kessel will be looking to have an even better year than the two seasons he’s had in a Toronto uniform, both of which saw him tally at least 30 goals. Phil should be thrilled about the addition of Tim Connolly to the Leafs’ lineup, as the combination of his speed and playmaking ability will hopefully prove to be near-perfect fit with Kessel’s particular skillset.
The biggest issue for Kessel during his two seasons here have been the long, well-documented and highly-critiqued scoring droughts. If he can avoid those droughts this season, something Connolly should help him do, there’s a damn good chance he can hit 40 goals, if not more. Remember, he’s only 23 years old, he’s only going to continue to get better, and with a slow, but consistent infusion of talent around him, as the pressure to produce all the offense slowly lifts from his shoulders, Kessel is the type of player that will most likely end up playing even better.
Make the jump to see all 32 of Kessel’s goals last season. Even after two seasons of watching him, I still can’t always see the puck after he shoots, and I’m convinced most of the goalies can’t either.