Ice Hockey Wiki
Phil Kessel
Born (1987-10-02)October 2, 1987,
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
202 lb (92 kg; 14 st 6 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shoots Right
NHL team
F. teams
Pittsburgh Penguins
Boston Bruins
Toronto Maple Leafs
Ntl. team Flag of the United States.png United States of America
NHL Draft 5th overall, 2006
Boston Bruins
Playing career 2006–present

Philip Kessel, Jr. (born October 2, 1987) is an American professional ice hockey right winger for the Pittsburgh Penguins 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.

Junior career

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. 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

Boston Bruins

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]

On December 16, 2006, 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.

On March 31, 2007, 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] Later, on June 14, at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres in Toronto, NHL announced that Kessel had been officially selected as the recipient of the 2007 Masterton award.

To start the Bruins' 2008–09 NHL season, Kessel scored the very first Bruins goal of the season on October 9, 2008, playing against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period of the Colorado team's home opener, 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 the March 10, 2009, 2–0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The surgery was successfully performed[8] on May 21, 2009, with recuperation from the surgery causing Kessel to miss the start of the 2009–10 NHL season.[9]

Toronto Maple Leafs

On September 18, 2009, the Boston Bruins traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he quickly signed a five-year, $27 million contract. The Leafs gave Boston their first and second round Entry Draft picks in 2010, as well as a first round Entry Draft pick in 2011. These picks turned to players Tyler Seguin, Jared Knight and Dougie Hamilton.[10]

On November 3, 2009, Kessel made his 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, Kessel still received the third star of the game honor. During the game, he was the recipient of a clean, open ice hit from Lightning defenseman Mattias Öhlund; he left the ice for evaluation, but returned to action later that night as the Leafs fell to the Lightning 2–1 in overtime. Kessel scored his first goal as a Maple Leaf on November 7, 2009, in a 5–1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at the Air Canada Centre.

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.

On January 1, 2010, after 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).[11] In 6 games at the Olympics, Kessel tallied a goal and an assist as Team USA won a silver medal.

On April 6, 2011, Kessel had his third consecutive 30 goal season, scoring against the Ottawa Senators. 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.

During the 2011-12 NHL season, Kessel scored his first hat trick as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct 8, 2011 against the Ottawa Senators. He would finish the month as the NHL's top scorer and was subsequently named first star of the month for October.

In 2011-2012, Kessel was once again named to be an All-Star, and was to be on 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.[12]

On February 7, 2012, 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.

On February 23, 2012, Kessel recorded his 65th point of the season which beat his old career high in points in a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

An NHL player's poll conducted by Sports Illustrated and released in February 2012 named Kessel "the easiest (player) to intimidate" in the league.[13] 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.[14] The poll drew controversy from many including 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.[15]. Players were not allowed to vote for members of their own team.

On March 24th, 2012, Kessel played in his 450th NHL game in a 4 - 3 shootout loss to the New York Rangers

On March 31st, 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, tying for 6th in the league and beating his previous best point total by more than 15.

Personal life

Both of Kessel's parents were athletes: father Phil Kessel, Sr., a college quarterback, attended Northern Michigan University from 1976–1981, he was drafted by the Washington Redskins of the National Football League, spending his first year on the injured reserve and then released. He signed then by the Calgary Stampeders but they weren't impressed with the quarterbacking. In 1984 Phil Sr. spent one season as the third quarterback with the Birmingham Stallions of the United States Football League. His mother Kathy ran track in college. 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 Calgary Flames. His brother Blake, a defenseman, who was drafted by the New York Islanders in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, in the sixth round, 166th overall, plays for the Adirondack Phantoms. Their sister Amanda also plays hockey, and was the top scorer, with six goals and 13 assists for the gold medal-winning Team USA, at the 2009 IIHF World Women's U18 Championship.[16]

Career statistics

    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 Minnesota Golden Gophers 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
NHL totals 462 165 165 330 123 15 9 6 15 6

Awards and honors

NHL All-Star Games

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


NHL Records

Boston Bruins Records

  • 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.
  • One of three American players (Alongside Bill Guerin and Craig Janney) to average at least a point per game in the playoffs for the Bruins.

Toronto Maple Leafs Records


Career Highlights

  • Led the Toronto Maple Leafs in goals and points in 2010-11 (32 goals, 64 points)
  • Led the Toronto Maple Leafs in goals, assists and points in 2011-12 (37 goals, 45 assists, 82 points) Kessel was 6th in the NHL in goals and points at the conclusion of the season.

International play

Medal record

Phil Kessel
Men's ice hockey
Competitor for the USA
Olympic Games
Silver 2010 Vancouver Tournament
World Junior Ice Hockey U18 Championships
Silver 2004 Minsk Tournament
Gold 2005 Plzeň Tournament

Kessel played for the United States in:

Kessel played for the United States in:

  • Four Nations Cup U17 (November 7–9, 2003, Magnitogorsk, Russia), 1st place, recorded 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists) in 3 games
  • Five Nations Cup U18 (February 10–13, 2005, Tjorn, Sweden), 1st place, recorded 6 points (5 goals, 1 assist) in 4 games

He also participated in two U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camps (2005, 2006)

International statistics

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
USA totals 53 31 33 64 26


  1. Future Greats and Heartbreaks, Gare Joyce, 2007, pg. 34–35 (footnote)
  2. The Next One. INCH (July 6, 2004).
  3. Bruins' Kessel Diagnosed With Cancer. CBS (December 11, 2006). Retrieved on January 1, 2009.
  4. Boston Bruins Assign Phil Kessel to Providence Bruins. Boston Bruins (January 5, 2007).
  5. East triumphs in YoungStars shootout. NHL (January 23, 2007).
  6. Harris, Stephen. "Candidate for the Masterton", Boston Herald, March 31, 2007. Retrieved on July 3, 2007. 
  7. 2nd career hat trick. NHL (April 12, 2009).
  8. Kessel Undergoes Successful Surgery. Boston Bruins (May 21, 2009).
  9. Shinzawa, Fluto. "Kessel, Krejci among injured Bruins", Boston Globe, May 18, 2009. 
  10. Kessel traded to Maple Leafs, signs 5-year, $27m contract. TSN (September 19, 2009).
  11. 2010 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team Announced. USA Hockey (January 1, 2010).
  13. Toronto Maple Leafs’ Phil Kessel easiest to intimidate: Sports Illustrated poll
  14. Nhl Players Poll
  15. THN NHL Players Poll
  16. 2009 IIHF World Women's U18 Championship Scoring Leaders. IIHF (January 10, 2009).
  17. Phil Kessel captured the Bob Johnson Award. INCH (May 27, 2005). Retrieved on July 3, 2007.

External links

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