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He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named

The horse that is the comparison between Phil Kessel and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has been beaten to death. Except Tyler Seguin is the He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and he has been named constantly.

But while Tyler Seguin’s name echoes across Toronto relentlessly, Taylor Hall’s does not.

Last year, the Toronto Maple Leafs finished with 74 points in the regular season, 12 points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers who finished with 62 points.

Were it not for the Kessel trade, however, the Maple Leafs would have been the undisputed worst team in the NHL last season.

Why?

Because there is a direct and obvious correlation between the performance of a team’s best player and the team itself.

And the Leafs won many games because of Phil Kessel last season.

The most obvious statistic is the fact that in 70 games, Kessel had 5 Game-Winning Goals.

That is the equivalent of 10 points in standings math alone.

In addition, Kessel scored 7 of his 30 goals in single-goal games (including one GWG) that resulted in a W for the Leafs last season. Kessel also had 14 Multi-Point games. The Leafs record in those games? 9-4-1. Not surprisingly, 4 of Kessel’s 5 GWG came in these games. Not only that but one of the nine wins was against Edmonton in a 6-4 Win, where Kessel had 2 Goals and 1 Assist.

That is an additional 23 points in the standings due largely to Kessel’s efforts including a 4-Point game against the Oilers in a battle for last place.

Now, of-course, the Chicken and the Egg argument comes into play here. It is obvious that the Leafs would not have finished with only 39 points last season without Kessel.

But what is clear is that the Leafs would have easily made up the 12-Point spread between themselves and the Oilers for last place and that 1st Overall Pick that would have inevitably been Taylor Hall.

The Seguin vs Kessel argument gets bogged down in semantics due to different natural positions and styles of play, even though Seguin will be the better player. The fact that Seguin has 5 Goals and 10 Points compared to Kessel’s 10 Goals and 17 points only helps Kessel’s cause further.

But the Hall vs Kessel debate is more black and white and not exactly a debate. Hall is everything Kessel is, except he is better and brings even more to the table. The fact that the two-time Memorial Cup and Stafford Smythe Winner sits just 1 Goal and 1 Point behind Phil Kessel in his first NHL season makes the distinction even easier.

Obviously, the wrong name echoes across talk radio, newspapers and Internet blogs across Leaf Nation.

Or perhaps the right one is not mentioned for a reason.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: phil+kessel, taylor+hall, tyler+seguin

Comments

Avatar

I guarantee, based on the luck the Leafs have, that had the Leafs not made the trade for Kessel, they would have drafted 5-7th as they did previous years.  Who knows, maybe Toskala decides not to suck in every game he plays because he knows there isn’t a guy like Kessel he can count on to score goals.

Posted by CoolJ90 on 12/15/10 at 12:17 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Hall.  Seguin…  right now Toronto doesn’t have either of them.

Nor will they have Nugent-Hopkins, Couturier, or Larsson this year.

So would you rather have Kessel…. or Seguin/Hall and Nug-Hop/Couturier/Larsson?

That’s the problem here:  there is no debate, because Kessel has no hope whatsoever of having the value of Seguin and whatever pick in the top 3 they might have gotten.

Toronto could have got a dynamite forward AND a d-man stud… or two dynamite forwards.  Instead, they now have neither and have a streaky scorer who disappears when it matters most.

Posted by Primis on 12/15/10 at 12:21 AM ET

Shiv's avatar

Hall.  Seguin… right now Toronto doesn’t have either of them.

Nor will they have Nugent-Hopkins, Couturier, or Larsson this year.

So would you rather have Kessel…. or Seguin/Hall and Nug-Hop/Couturier/Larsson?

That’s the problem here:  there is no debate, because Kessel has no hope whatsoever of having the value of Seguin and whatever pick in the top 3 they might have gotten.

Toronto could have got a dynamite forward AND a d-man stud… or two dynamite forwards.  Instead, they now have neither and have a streaky scorer who disappears when it matters most.

No kidding Primis. It haunts me and Leaf fans. We could’ve been sitting on a core of Kadri, Schenn, Seguin/Hall, Nug-Hop/Couturier

Posted by Shiv from Toronto on 12/15/10 at 12:22 AM ET

Chris from NOHS's avatar

Interesting points sir.

Posted by Chris from NOHS from Columbus, OH/Grand Rapids, MI on 12/15/10 at 01:00 AM ET

mmuskrat's avatar

Burke overestimated his team, and that’s that.  It really isn’t worth talking about at this point, even though it hurts really bad everytime Seguin scores.  Spilled milk and all that, eh?  Let’s hope for some decent free agent pickups.

As they say, “draft shmaft”.

Posted by mmuskrat on 12/15/10 at 04:05 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Burke overestimated his team, and that’s that.  It really isn’t worth talking about at this point, even though it hurts really bad everytime Seguin scores.  Spilled milk and all that, eh?  Let’s hope for some decent free agent pickups.

As they say, “draft shmaft”.

Posted by mmuskrat on 12/15/10 at 01:05 AM ET


The Leafs’ idea of free agent signings are guys like Bret Lebda.

Good luck with that.

Posted by Primis on 12/15/10 at 12:17 PM ET

mmuskrat's avatar

The Leafs’ idea of free agent signings are guys like Bret Lebda.

Good luck with that.

Brett is spelled with 2 t’s.  Show some respect, man.

Yeah, I was being a little sarcastic - I mean, we’ll all hope for decent free agents, but who are we kidding?

Posted by mmuskrat on 12/15/10 at 04:51 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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