What will Kessel's debut in Blue and White bring to the club?
The Leafs are hopeful that by Tuesday night they will be able to pencil 36 goal scorer Phil Kessel into the lineup. Recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, Phil Kessel will most likely be cleared to suit up against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the ACC where the Leafs are winless this season.
The question is how much of an impact Kessel can make. Ask most Bruins fans and they will tell you: “Sure, Kessel is a good sniper, but what can he do without Savard? He is not a star in this league.”
Now take those comments any way you want but the bottom line is nobody can tell you how Kessel will fare without a bonafide push disher like Savard at centre. Leaf fans are hoping his speed down the wing will give the Leafs a threat that they truly lack up-front. This is a group that has been through the worst this season and in my opinion has nowhere to go but up and while Kessel may not be the hockey messiah, he may be able to add a spark to a team that is just starting to get its confidence.
Listening to the fan590 this morning, I though Damien Cox made a great point when he said the Leafs should ease Kessel into the game by giving him fewer minutes during the game but lots of powerplay time. I tend to agree with this assessment. Kessel has not felt true contact since last season and needs to get a feel for the flow of the game again without being thrown into the deep end. However, putting him on the powerplay may help him get his first few points and the confidence he needs. Toronto's powerplay is currently tops in the league and adding Kessel should make it better.
My question for you is: Will Kessel be a big part of Toronto turning their fortunes around this season?
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Written by Mike Crupi