What's up with Phil Kessel? by @evil_shero



As we all know, Phil Kessel has only scored 1 goal in March. Phil has also tallied 9 points in the 15 games in March. For a regular player that's really good, however for Phil, that's not up to his usual standard.


  • Oct - 1.0 PTS/GM
  • Nov - .85 PTS/GM
  • Dec - .88 PTS/GM
  • Jan - .81 PTS/GM
  • Feb - .75 PTS/GM
  • Mar - .60 PTS/GM

It's been a slow and steady decline for our beloved Phil. The fact that we are missing half of our team to injury hasn't made things much better. Phil has taken roles on the 2nd and 3rd line regardless of available staff. Voided of usual linemates, playing a more defensive role, and other complications when playing with a depleted roster.

The popular eye-test assessment is: Phil isn't shooting as much as he used to.

  • Oct - 2.22 SH/GM
  • Nov - 2.79 SH/GM
  • Dec - 2.93 SH/GM
  • Jan - 3.09 SH/GM
  • Feb - 2.75 SH/GM
  • Mar - 2.67 SH/GM

That's not really a huge decline.

One thing sticks out like a boner in church is Phil's Shot %. Check this out.


Phil's shot % comes out to 3% in March. 40 shots, 1 goal. What is Kessel doing?

He's definitely trying harder: (5v5 + blocked)


Is he facing amazing goaltenders? Nah, not really.

  • 3/1/17 - Crawford .973%
  • 3/3/17 - Budaj - .882%
  • 3/5/17 - Nilsson - .911%
  • 3/8/17 - Hutchinson .882% / Hellebuyck .667%
  • 3/10/17 - Talbot .933%
  • 3/11/17 - Miller .957%
  • 3/13/17 - Elliott .914%
  • 3/15/17 - Mason 1.000%
  • 3/17/17 - (Kessel 1 goal) Kinkaid .881%
  • 3/19/17 - Reimer .857%
  • 3/21/17 - Lehner .912%
  • 3/23/17 - Condon .971%
  • 3/24/17 - Halak .925%
  • 3/26/17 - Mason .926%
  • 3/29/17 - Crawford .969%

Let's see how Phil is shooting in March:


via xtrahockeystats.com

Let's see how Phil shot in December in which he had the most goals (6) in the month.

via xtrahockeystats.com
How did The Red Panda shoot before March?

via xtrahockeystats.com

The argument that Phil is taking more low % shots in March is not invalid. As you can see as the RED splotches Phil is not getting in front of the net like in previous games. In March his only goal against the Devils came from between the two center hatches right outside the high % zone.

My final dig was Kessel's production on the power play. Out of Kessel's 65 points, this year 28 are on the powerplay. That's 43%. That's most on the team, although Letang is close to 41%. 

  • Oct - 3.78 Calls per Game
  • Nov - 3.15 Calls per Game
  • Dec - 3.64 Calls per Game
  • Jan -  3.30 Calls per Game
  • Feb-  3.00 Calls per Game
  • Mar - 2.87 Calls per Game

After looking at all of these factors, I believe that a combination of fewer powerplay chances bundled with taking low % shots and that intangible "bad luck" that hits a player from time-to-time equals a slumping Phil. 

I'm not worried as I look back to playoff Phil and smile.






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