by PuckStopsHere on 10/20/11 at 02:57 PM ET
Earlier this season I picked Kari Lehtonen of the Dallas Stars as the early season MVP. While he remains the top goalie with a league leading win total and a goals against average and saves percentage among the top in the league with a very high number of shots against, he has been surpassed as league MVP by Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Kessel is off to a very good start. He leads the league with 12 points in five games played. His seven goals is also league leading. His +7 +/- rating leads the NHL’s forwards. He is off to a very good start. Eleven teams in the league have 12 goals or less scored this season and Kessel by himself has been in on that many goals.
Toronto acquired Kessel in a high profile trade in a high profile trade with Boston in the summer of 2009. He was traded for three draft picks, two of which were first round picks. One was second overall in the draft. Boston selected Tyler Seguin. The other picks turned into Dougie Hamilton and Jared Knight. It is a ton of potential given up for Kessel. If Kessel can play at this level he is clearly worth it.
He hasn’t played at anywhere near this high a level so far in his career. His 64 points last season was his career best to this point. If Kessel stays at that level it is quite likely that he won’t be worth the price the Leafs paid for him. This season could be a breakout season where he becomes a superstar or it could be an unsustainable fast start. It is unlikely that he remains the top scorer in the league, but this may be a break out season. If that happens, Toronto could take a big step forward this season.
Phil Kessel is off to a very good start and is the early season MVP. It is unlikely that he remains at this level all season, though he could have a breakout season. If that happens, Toronto could take a big step forward this season.
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