Phil Kessel

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Phil Kessel
Phil Kessel smiles for the crowd Toronto Ontario 2010.jpg
Kessel pictured with his current team, the Toronto Maple Leafs
Born (1987-10-02) October 2, 1987 (age 26)
Madison, WI, USA
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 202 lb (92 kg; 14 st 6 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shoots Right
NHL team
Former teams
Toronto Maple Leafs
Boston Bruins
National team  United States
NHL Draft 5th overall, 2006
Boston Bruins
Playing career 2006–present

Philip Joseph Kessel, Jr. (born October 2, 1987), is an American professional ice hockey forward for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL). Kessel is a product of USA Hockey National Team Development Program and became that program's all-time leader for goals and points in his final 2004–05 year. Kessel finished his amateur career by playing collegiate hockey for the University of Minnesota in the WCHA. He was the fifth-overall pick of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, taken by the Boston Bruins. In his rookie season, he was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for overcoming testicular cancer and continuing to play.

Kessel plays internationally for the United States, and represented them between 2003-2010. At the 2010 Winter Olympics Kessel played in 6 games, recording a goal and an assist en route to a silver medal. At the 2014 Winter Olympics Kessel played in 6 games, recording 5 goals and 3 assist en route to a fourth place finish for USA. Kessel was named the tournament's top forward, and was also named to the tournament all star team.

Playing career[edit]

Amateur career[edit]

Kessel had an outstanding 2004–05 junior season, one in which many NHL scouts ranked him as a prospect comparable to Sidney Crosby[1] (and one of The Next Ones).[2] Born in October, Kessel missed the 2005 NHL Entry Draft cutoff by only one month. However, in 2005–06, Kessel experienced several setbacks that hurt his ranking as a prospect. Considered the most talented player on the favored United States team in the 2006 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, he scored only one goal and the team finished in fourth, although he led the tournament in points with 11. His college performance was less spectacular than expected; by season's end he was playing third-line minutes for the Minnesota Golden Gophers squad, though he did score 18 goals and finish with 51 total points.

Kessel was still viewed highly enough that he was drafted fifth overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins. Prior to the draft he dropped in ranking from first to second place among the North American skaters and in the final ranking he was ranked fourth among the North American skaters. At one point during his draft year he was projected to be the number 1 overall pick but was ultimately surpassed by Erik Johnson and then continued to drop.

Professional career[edit]

Boston Bruins[edit]

On August 17, 2006, the Bruins announced that they had signed Kessel to a 3 year entry-level contract worth the rookie maximum of $850,000.

On December 11, 2006, his family announced that Kessel was hospitalized for a reason unrelated to hockey. Later during the day, Bob Lobel, a sportscaster for WBZ-TV in Boston, confirmed that Kessel was diagnosed with a form of testicular cancer.[3] Five days later, on December 16, Kessel was announced cancer-free. On January 5, 2007, he was assigned to Providence for conditioning purposes[4] and then recalled on January 7. Kessel returned to the Bruins line-up on January 9, against the Ottawa Senators, after missing only 11 regular season games following cancer surgery.

Kessel with the Boston Bruins

Kessel was named to the 2007 NHL YoungStars Game which took place in Dallas, Texas, on January 23, 2007. He recorded a hat trick (including a unique powerplay with a game-winning goal) and an assist during this game in a 9–8 Eastern Conference victory.[5] While Kessel was not among top rookies in goals or assists, he became second among rookies with four shootout goals (4 of 7). Each goal was a game-deciding one that brought his team a win.

At the conclusion of the season, Boston Herald's author Stephen Harris reported that Kessel was voted by Boston writers as the team's candidate for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey) after battling testicular cancer.[6]

Then, during the 2007 NHL awards ceremony at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto, NHL announced that Kessel had been officially selected as the recipient of the 2007 Masterton award.

To open the 2008–09 NHL season, Kessel scored the first Bruins goal of the season, playing against the Colorado Avalanche in a game that resulted in the Bruins 5–4 victory. Kessel closed out the regular season on a high note, scoring his second career hat trick in the April 12, 2009, 6–2 visitors' victory against the New York Islanders,[7] and amassing the highest number of NHL regular season goals so far in his young career with 36, the most on the Bruins team for the season.

In the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs, Kessel would play an integral role in the team's playoff run, leading the team with 6 goals, before losing to the Carolina Hurricanes in the conference semi-finals in 7 games. After the playoffs, it was reported that Kessel would need off-season shoulder surgery, most likely caused during a 2–0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The surgery was successfully performed[8] during the off-season, with recuperation from the surgery causing Kessel to miss the start of the 2009–10 NHL season.[9]

Toronto Maple Leafs[edit]

On September 18, 2009, the Boston Bruins traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs, in exchange for a 2010 first-round pick (Tyler Seguin), a 2010 second-round pick (Jared Knight), and a 2011 first-round pick (Dougie Hamilton).[10] Immediately afterward, the Leafs signed him to a five-year, $27 million contract.

However, Kessel was sidelined for the first month of the season with a shoulder injury incurred the year before that required surgery.[11] Finally, on November 3, 2009, Kessel made his much-anticipated debut as a Leaf against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Kessel had a total of 10 shots on goal in the game, a career high, however he was not able to record any assists or goals. Despite not recording any points, and falling to the Lightning 2–1 in overtime, Kessel still received the third star of the game honor. Kessel scored his first goal as a Maple Leaf four days later, in a 5–1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at the Air Canada Centre.[12]

December 5, 2009 marked the first time that Kessel played against his former team, the Boston Bruins, at the TD Garden. Kessel's return to Boston was marked with thunderous taunting chants of his name by his former home crowd, along with a chorus of boos every time he had possession of the puck. Kessel was on the ice for the first three of the seven goals that Boston scored in their 7–2 victory. He finished the game a −3 plus/minus with 2 shots on the night. After the game Kessel said in a post-game interview on NESN that the fans' reaction "did not affect [him]". However it was the "worst game [he] had played in a while" and that he needed to "play better". However, on February 15, 2011, he scored two goals against his former team in a 4–3 Maple Leafs win.

After the 2010 NHL Winter Classic game, it was announced that Kessel, along with his Leaf team-mate Mike Komisarek, made the Olympic roster to represent Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics (However, Komisarek would miss the Olympics due to injury).[13] In 6 games at the Olympics, Kessel tallied a goal and an assist as Team USA won a silver medal.

On April 2, 2011, Kessel had his third consecutive 30 goal season, scoring against the Ottawa Senators.[14] He is currently amongst 8 other NHL players, including Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, who have scored 30 goals or more in a season three times since the 2008–09 NHL regular season.

Kessel had another of his patented great starts to the 2011–12 NHL season, scoring his first hat trick as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs in just their second game of the season. He would go on to finish the month as the NHL's top scorer and was subsequently named first star of the month for October. That season, Kessel was once again named to be an All-Star, and was selected to Team Chara in the 8th round of the Fantasy Draft by assistant captain and linemate Joffrey Lupul.

On February 6, 2012, Kessel crossed the 300 point plateau after having a 3 point night against the Edmonton Oilers.[15] The next day, Kessel hit the 30-goal mark for the fourth straight time (third straight as a Maple Leaf) scoring against Ondrej Pavelec of the Winnipeg Jets. Later that month, Kessel continued to set milestones, scoring his 65th point of the season (breaking his old career-high) in a 2–1 loss to the San Jose Sharks.[16]

An NHL player's poll conducted by Sports Illustrated and released in February 2012 named Kessel "the easiest (player) to intimidate" in the league.[17] Kessel was named by 15% of NHL player respondents while Vancouver's Daniel and Henrik Sedin were next with 8%. The results were based on 145 NHL players who responded to Sports Illustrated's survey.[18] The poll drew controversy from many, including then Leafs GM Brian Burke due to the inflammatory nature of the question and which players were polled (i.e. no one in the Leafs' or Canucks organizations agreed to have players complete the survey).

In another player survey, this one by The Hockey News, Kessel was ranked as the 16th best player in the NHL by his peers. The results in this survey were based on responses from 5 players from each of the 30 NHL teams.[19] Players were not allowed to vote for members of their own team.

On March 31, 2012, Kessel scored his 37th goal of the season in a 4–3 win over the Buffalo Sabres beating his career high of 36 set with the Boston Bruins. He would go on to finish the season with 37 goals and 82 points, both new career highs, and both placed him 6th in the league.[20]

Kessel began the 2012–13 NHL season with his longest goal drought to begin a season at 10 games, finally bumping the slump with the game-winning goal against the Winnipeg Jets on February 7, 2013.

On April 20, 2013 in a 4–1 win against the Ottawa Senators where Kessel was able to contribute two assists, he and the Leafs clinched a playoff spot. This marked the first time Kessel had made it to the playoffs since his move to the Maple Leafs and ended a seven season playoff drought for the club.

To conclude the 2012–13 NHL season Kessel scored 10 goals and 7 assists for 17 points over his last 10 games to retake the scoring lead for the Leafs, leading the team in goals, assists and points for the second consecutive year. Kessel would go on to finish 7th in league scoring posting his second consecutive point-per-game season.

On October 1, 2013, Kessel officially signed an eight-year contract that will pay him an average of $8 million annually through the 2021-22 NHL season.

Between the week of Oct 21 - Oct 27, Kessel found the back of the net in all 3 Toronto games. First, he recorded his fourth career hat-trick, including the game-winner in a 4-2 victory of the Anaheim Ducks. Kessel was then able to score in Toronto's next game, a 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. He concluded the week by recording a goal and an assist in a 4-1 victory over Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. For his efforts during the week, Kessel was named Second Star of the Week after leading the NHL with 5 goals scored in that timeframe.[21] Kessel continued his successful week with a 2 goal, 2 assist effort against the Edmonton Oilers in a 4-0 Maple Leafs victory.[22]

After the 2014 NHL Winter Classic Toronto victory over the Detroit Red Wings (3-2 in a shootout), it was announced that Kessel, along with his Leaf team-mate James van Riemsdyk, had been named to the United States Men's Olympic hockey roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics.[23]

On February 1, 2014, Kessel recorded his fifth career hat-trick, which was also his 30th goal of the season, marking the fifth time he has had a 30+ goal season in the NHL.

On February 15, 2014, Kessel scored another hat trick, this time for the United States men's national ice hockey team in a game against Slovenia during the 2014 Winter Olympics. [24] He finished with 5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points in 6 games, becoming leading scorer of the competition, and was named to the tournament All-Star Team, earning the award for best forward, while Team USA lost the bronze medal game against Finland 0-5.

Personal life[edit]

Both of Kessel's parents were athletes: father Phil Kessel, Sr., a college quarterback at Northern Michigan University, was drafted by the Washington Redskins of the National Football League, spending his first year on the injured reserve and then released. Not only were his parents athletically inclined but the entire Kessel family features successful athletes. Kessel has an older cousin who plays in the NHL, David Moss, of the Phoenix Coyotes. His brother Blake, a defenseman, who was drafted by the New York Islanders in the sixth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft plays for the Philadelphia Flyers American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms. Their sister Amanda also plays hockey for the Minnesota Golden Gophers of the WCHA, as well as internationally for the United States[25]

Career statistics[edit]

Figures in boldface italics are records.

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2001–02 Madison Capitols Bantam AAA 86 176 110 286
2002–03 Madison Capitols Midget AAA 71 113 45 158
2003–04 Development Program U17 NAHL 62 52 30 82 26
2004–05 Development Program U18 NAHL 47 52 46 98 35
2005–06 University of Minnesota WCHA 39 18 33 51 28
2006–07 Providence Bruins AHL 2 1 0 1 2
2006–07 Boston Bruins NHL 70 11 18 29 12
2007–08 Boston Bruins NHL 82 19 18 37 28 4 3 1 4 2
2008–09 Boston Bruins NHL 70 36 24 60 16 11 6 5 11 4
2009–10 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 70 30 25 55 21
2010–11 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 82 32 32 64 24
2011–12 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 82 37 45 82 20
2012–13 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 48 20 32 52 18 7 4 2 6 2
2013–14 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 82 37 43 80 27
NHL totals 586 222 237 459 166 22 13 8 21 8
NAHL totals 109 104 76 180 61


Year Team Event GP G A Pts PIM Result
2004 United States WJC18 6 7 3 10 6 Silver medal icon.svg
2005 United States WJC 7 4 2 6 2 4th
2005 United States WJC18 6 9 7 16 2 Gold medal icon.svg
2006 United States WJC 7 1 10 11 2 4th
2006 United States WC 7 1 1 2 2 7th
2007 United States WC 7 2 5 7 6 5th
2008 United States WC 7 6 4 10 6 6th
2010 United States Oly 6 1 1 2 0 Silver medal icon.svg
2014 United States Oly 6 5 3 8 2 4th
USA totals 59 36 36 72 28

NHL All-Star Games[edit]

Year Location G A Pts
2011 Raleigh 0 0 0
2012 Ottawa 1 2 3
All-Star totals 1 2 3

Awards and honors[edit]

Award Year
All-WCHA Rookie Team 2005–06


NHL records[edit]

  • The first NHL rookie to be honored with the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy
  • Tied with Ed Olczyk for the longest point streak by a U.S.-born player in NHL history (18 games). He had 14 goals and 14 assists, 28 points, on that run.

Boston Bruins records[edit]

  • Boston Bruins' franchise record for most game-deciding shootout goals in a career: 9
  • Youngest player for the Boston Bruins to score 30 goals in a single season at the age of 21 years, 179 days. He scored against the New York islanders in his 3rd season en route to a 36 goal campaign.


  • Led the Boston Bruins in goals in 2008-09 (36 goals) [31]
  • Led the Toronto Maple Leafs in goals and points in 2009-10 (30 goals, 55 points)[32]
  • Led the Toronto Maple Leafs in goals and points in 2010-11 (32 goals, 64 points)[33]
  • Led the Toronto Maple Leafs in goals, assists and points in 2011-12 (37 goals, 45 assists, 82 points)[34] Kessel was 6th in the NHL in goals and points at the conclusion of the season.[35]
  • Led the Toronto Maple Leafs in goals, assists and points in the 48-game 2012-13 NHL season (20 goals, 32 assists, 52 points)[34]
  • Led the Toronto Maple Leafs in goals in the 2012-13 playoff run (4 goals in 7 games)

International play[edit]

Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Competitor for the USA
Olympic Games
Silver 2010 Vancouver
IIHF World U18 Championships
Silver 2004 Minsk
Gold 2005 Plzeň

Kessel played for the United States in:


  1. ^ Future Greats and Heartbreaks, Gare Joyce, 2007, pg. 34–35 (footnote)
  2. ^ The Next One, INCH. July 6, 2004.
  3. ^ CBS, Retrieved January 1, 2009
  4. ^ Boston Bruins, Retrieved January 5, 2007
  5. ^ NHL, January 23, 2007
  6. ^ Harris, Stephen March 31, 2007
  7. ^ "2nd career hat trick". NHL. April 12, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Kessel Undergoes Successful Surgery". Boston Bruins. May 21, 2009. 
  9. ^ Shinzawa, Fluto (May 18, 2009). "Kessel, Krejci among injured Bruins". Boston Globe. 
  10. ^ "Kessel traded to Maple Leafs, signs 5-year, $27m contract". TSN. September 19, 2009. 
  11. ^ Tuesday, December 3, 2013 8:55 PM EST Facebook Twitter RSS (2009-09-20). "Phil Kessel puts his shoulder to the wheel | Toronto Star". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  12. ^ Final. "Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs - 11/07/2009". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  13. ^ "2010 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team Announced". USA Hockey. January 1, 2010. 
  14. ^ Final (2011-04-02). "Toronto Maple Leafs at Ottawa Senators - 04/02/2011". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  15. ^ "Grabovski stretches points streak, Maple Leafs beat Oilers". 2012-02-06. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  16. ^ Final (2012-02-23). "San Jose Sharks at Toronto Maple Leafs - 02/23/2012". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  17. ^ Toronto Maple Leafs’ Phil Kessel easiest to intimidate: Sports Illustrated poll
  18. ^ Nhl Players Poll
  19. ^ THN NHL Players Poll
  20. ^ Final (2012-03-31). "Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs - 03/31/2012". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  21. ^ "Steven Stamkos, Phil Kessel and Ryan Kesler named NHL 'Three Stars' of the week - - News". 2013-10-28. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  22. ^ Final. "Toronto Maple Leafs at Edmonton Oilers - 10/29/2013". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  23. ^ "2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team Announced". USA Hockey. January 1, 2014. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ "2009 IIHF World Women's U18 Championship Scoring Leaders". IIHF. January 10, 2009. 
  26. ^ "Phil Kessel captured the Bob Johnson Award". INCH. May 27, 2005. Retrieved July 3, 2007. 
  27. ^ "Boston Bruins at Florida Panthers - 10/06/2006". 2006-10-06. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  28. ^ Final. "Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning - 10/07/2006". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  29. ^ Final. "Buffalo Sabres at Boston Bruins - 10/21/2006". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  30. ^ Final. "Boston Bruins at Los Angeles Kings - 10/12/2007". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  31. ^ "2008-2009 Regular Season Stats - Goals - Boston Bruins - Statistics". 2013-11-30. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  32. ^ "2009-2010 Regular Season Stats - Points - Toronto Maple Leafs - Statistics". 2013-11-30. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  33. ^ "2010-2011 Regular Season Stats - Points - Toronto Maple Leafs - Statistics". 2013-11-30. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  34. ^ a b "2013-2014 Regular Season Stats - Points - Toronto Maple Leafs - Statistics". 2013-11-30. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  35. ^ "2011-2012 - Regular Season - All Skaters - Summary - Points - - Stats". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Matt Lashoff
Boston Bruins first round draft pick
Succeeded by
Zach Hamill
Preceded by
Teemu Selanne
Winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy
Succeeded by
Jason Blake