Kessel wants to score 40 goals next year – Can he?

On a team historically bereft of big-time scorers, Phil Kessel believes he can achieve what only one Maple Leaf has been able to do in the last 15 seasons.

That’s topping the 40-goal mark.

“I think I can score 40. I could have had it last year if I’d have scored (consistently). I had a lot of chances, plus I missed quite a bit of games,” said the 22-year-old winger as he passed through town for the unveiling of Dion Phaneuf as Toronto’s captain and Tuesday’s opening of Real Sports Bar and Grill, MLSE’s playpen beside the Air Canada Centre.

“I’m going to improve on last year. Hopefully, I’m going to be a better hockey player,” Kessel continued.

Since Dave Andreychuk potted 53 goals during the heady days of the 1993-94 season, only Mats Sundin has managed to crack the 40 plateau. He scored 41 twice, in 1996-97 and in 2001-02, so it’s not like Toronto is known for its red-light district.

“My role on the team is to score goals and make plays so I have to do that. If I can contribute in that way, hopefully we win some games,” said Kessel.

So how ’bout 50?

“Oh, I don’t know. You never know,” he said coyly. “Like I said, we’re here to win games. I’m going to score as many as I can.”

As rare an accomplishment as it’s been in this city, for Kessel to project himself as a 40-goal man is not that big a stretch.

He scored 36 in just 70 games with Boston two years ago and finished last season with 30 despite missing the first 12 games as he recovered from shoulder surgery. He then played the last half-dozen games with an abdominal muscle/rib injury. That bookended a campaign in which during one stretch, he managed only two goals in 21 games.–pushing-40-leafs-kessel-aims-for-elusive-goal-scoring-mark

28 Responses to Kessel wants to score 40 goals next year – Can he?

  1. LeafsLegacy says:

    It's possible. If T.O. signs a good center from the UFA market, such as Marleau wink wink, he'd have no problem hitting the 40 plateau.

  2. mojo19 says:

    He's definitely shifty enough and has that lethal shot and quick release. I think he could definitely hit 40. Even if he's in around 35 I'll be happy.

  3. reinjosh says:

    I gotta say Marleau isn't a playmaker. It might not work out at all. Were fine with Bozak. The two of them had great chemistry. Why break up a good thing. Sometimes the answer can come within the system. I know as Leafs fans thats a hard thing for us to understand, seeing as we have a system for the first time in forever.

  4. b_devils says:

    Well said. Bozak was brought in to be a top 6, and at the pace he was producing, he would have finished with more points then duchane if he played the whole season. (i am NOT saying he is better then duchane!) 

    plus bozak was hit with the swine flew at the beginning of the season and lost over 10 pounds he put on over the summer, yet he still managed to produce. 
    I say stick with bozak and kessel for a year, no need to rush to bring someone in.
    And for the first time, the Leafs might be able to bring talent from within.  
  5. inurface says:

    y is it when ever u open a htr article  3pop ups come
     1 is cookin video
     1 is blah
     1 is karen simson news (god i hate her)

  6. number15 says:

    Well he has the desire and I think he will work extra hard next season, might have something to do with outshining Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin's hype.

    though I think he is very capable. He was injured for alot of early games last season and wasent 100% for many more….. give him a full season healthy and he will reach 40 smoothly

    im expecting 45 goals….. but id be happy with 40

  7. TheLeafNation91 says:

    TO leafy:

    -I think you mentioned we cannot bury Finger in the minors, but i found this article on that says that though the Leafs wont buy him out, the Leafs do have three options

     'The three options the Leafs have are to send Finger to the AHL,(where his $3.5 Million salary would not count against the cap), to place him on waivers and find a team that would pick him up on recall waivers(which would open up $1.75 Million in cap room and the dead money hit would be only two seasons) or to trade him to a team looking to rid themselves of a player(bad contract for bad contract).'

  8. Kev_Leafs says:

    The site has to cover its operating costs somehow.

  9. Frank181 says:

    If we take option 3, it would leave us with a bad contract still? Why do it?

  10. Boston_Bruins says:

    It'll be interesting to see what he does in a full season. I'm assuming he'll put up 35-40 this year.

    As for  comment I read above about him having the desire, one of his biggest knocks in Boston was his work ethic. Pure talent but he could be alot more if he puts in some work in the offseason.

    And I still hate him.

  11. zackman13 says:

    i had exactly the same problem, but i just found a great popup blockerand it cleared the site of all ads!

  12. kesselleafs says:

    it is so annoying plus they talk to in the video

  13. inurface says:

    could u tell us how plzzzzzz……………

    internet was suppose to give us info… not info with anoyin junkk…>
    if htr wants happy customers have advertisements which are on the articles not friggin popups tht take up to a min or 2 to close.>

  14. andy_beleafs says:

         Kessel definitely has the potential to hit the 40 goal mark. 50 might take a bit of wishful thinking; I mean he's no Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin right? haha…. What Kessel needs is the right centerman setting him up and with all the talk of New Jersey's interest in Kaberle, I say look no further than Travis Zajac. 

         Zajac fits the Burkian mold. He's big (6'3 but at 195lbs could stand beef up a bit), young (25), North American, and has already had great chemistry with Parise on the Devils top line. These all add up to the fact that he would be tough to pry away from Lamoriello.
         With Paul Martin coming off injury and possibly departing via free agency, Kaberle is exactly the type of player the Devils need to help shore up their back end and anchor their powerplay. Plus, Kaberle has stated that he would want to stay on the east coast which might prove a strong influence on his choice to resign after this season. 
         A potential deal could look something like this:
    C Zajac 3.888 – 3 years – decent contract that could end up being a great bargain
    C/W Zubrus 3.4 – 3 years – huge, talented, versatile, underachieved with NJ since he's been                                           there, taking on a bit of a bad contract but could pay off             2nd roud pick in this years draft (38)
      6th round pick (174)
    D Kaberle 4.25 – 1 year – needs to resign
    C Grabovski 2.9 – 2 years – fast and talented but undersized and defintely not a Burke-type                                           player
    G Scrivens .900 – 1 year – coming off a great year in the NCAA with Cornell – NJ has no real                                          back-up or goaltending solutions for the future – Brodeur isn't getting                                    any younger (don't we hear that every year?)
    5th round pick (144 – originally from NJ)
    Soooo maybe some wishful thinking for my leafs but it would seem to work out pretty well as both teams would be able to fill some important gaps in their line-ups.
  15. reinjosh says:

    With that type of deal its possible that the bad contract might have value to us. Maybe less term, or a player who could provide scoring depth at an inflated price etc.

    Like if we add a forward for the same price but with some scoring ability.

    Basically how we added Gigure for Blake and Toskala. Anaheim wanted to get rid of Giguere and we wanted to get rid of Blake and Toskala. Giguere gave us a true number 1 guy to teach Gustavsson and Blake gave them scoring depth.

  16. reinjosh says:

    Honestly, I think his so called work ethic problems got blown out of proportion. Started with a coaching spat and then just evolved from their.

    Why do you hate him? Because he took money he was going to get anyways on a team that actually wanted him and saw the talent he has? Or because he took a season of scoring with him?

  17. reinjosh says:

    I think they mean 50 in a couple years.

    And no way New Jersey trade Zajac. Take away their top two centers and add a second line center? Not too smart. Zajac won't be moved simply because they have no other centers ready to play on the top line.

  18. andy_beleafs says:

    Yeah thats why i said wishful. My thought for jersey was that it would clear up even more cap room for kovalchuk and maybe FA centers like Cullen, Koivu, or even maybe Plekanec – not sure how paying up for Plekanec would pan out for anyone though. 

  19. broc says:

    Why do people always try to trade away free agents who have JUST SIGNED with toronto?

    Do you not realize if Toronto trades a guy like Scrivens- who could've signed in NJ if he wanted- it basically gives the franchise no honor, and future free agents will never pick Toronto b/c they could just wind up anywhere.

    Scrivens, Rynnas, other UFA's or prospects simply WILL NOT BE DEALT, as it would be a slight to them and everyone else who sees it.

    Stop doing it!

  20. Kramer says:

    40 is too few. He's gonna score 80 goals.

  21. Mapleleaves says:

    I agree completely, its like what i was saying in a different thread about sending Giggy to the minors. No Class No honor. Giggy didnt have to come to toronto he chose to, why would the Leafs slap players in the face because they want to play for us (unless its someone like komi or i believe beauch because the only reason theyre with T.O is for the money)

  22. LeafsLegacy says:

    lol I wish

  23. LeafsLegacy says:

    Yeah, I agree, sometimes when I see Kessel finish a shift he looks like he is trying to catch his breath.

  24. LeafsLegacy says:

    True. It'd be nice again though, have some one with experience under there belt in the forward position. Your right though, Bozak is very talented and has good chemistry with Kessel and Kulemin, but doesn't neccessarly mean Burke shouldn't sign Marleau. He could manage on the second line, much like what he has done with San Jose, but on second thoughts he might want to be a legit number one center. Marleau might not be a playmaker, but would excellent depth the Leafs need. Marleau might fit right in. Who knows, until it happens. But good opinion

    Man though Marleau on the point on the PP, getting shivers just thinking of it.

                       Phanuef                     Marleau

    Kulemin                                                              Kessel

  25. futurebruin says:

    hahahahaha.  Man, as a Bruins fan, I can tell you for a fact that Kessel doesn't really have the desire.  He whines and complains, dogs it, then when he gets benched for a shift or two he whines and complains.  All Kessel really wants (or wanted, depending) is alot of money.  Maybe he has the desire to score 40 goals in a contract year so he can get over 5.4 from some other team suckered into his ploys, but that's about it.

  26. cam7777 says:

    Ha, you don't think the money was on the table from other teams?  The Islanders wanted to give Komi 5.0 per year, and that's his hometown – he still chose Toronto.  The Habs were only offering 0.5 less per year than the Leafs.  He chose Toronto because of Burke.

    Beauchemin never even put himself on the market, because he was sure Murray would get him signed in Anaheim.  When push came to shove, the Ducks ran out of money, and Murray had to tell Beauchemin "sorry bud, I wanted to sign you, but I just literally can't…".  So where did Beauchemin go?  Well, he turned straight to Burke.  Many teams would have given Beauchemin 3.8 million though (like 20 of the 30 teams).

  27. colin_leafsforever says:

    I'm holding out hope that they will trade Kaberle to Vancouver for Cody Hodgson.
    It would give the Canucks an incredible powerplay, and Kaberle dishing to the Sedins would be a thing of beauty night in, night out.
    The Canucks are going for it all, and to be developing Hodgson, a centre, when they already have H. Sedin and Kesler as their top two, maybe doesn't make sense for them short term, or even long term.
    I'd take it straight up. Though I could see why Gillis might not go for it because he will have to sign Kaberle to a 5 mil a year contract, at least three years, which could be difficult for their cap. who knows.
    Get rid of Grabovski!! Please!! Maybe throw him in for Ryan Johnson?
    Hodgson is going to be a great two way number one centre, he is Canadian, and we need top Canadian players on the Leafs.


    I really hope we pry Versteeg away from the Hawks as well, need a free agent winger as well, we are still thin, but Bozak and Hodgson down the middle for years to come would be awesome!!

  28. Boston_Bruins says:

    I've never been a fan of his. I remeber back at the 2006 draft I was hoping someone would take him so the Bruins wouldn't feel obligated to take him at 5. And I was pretty devastated when I heard that the Bruins wanted to trade up to 4 badly to take Backstrom but couldn't get it done.

    He's just not the type of player I like and then when he starts demanding that much money and handcuffing the team into trading him I just really don't like him.

    If you're complaining about something selfish like playing time on a team that put up one of the best records in the league (and he was on the top line anyways) you've lost my respect.

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