• Kept as a pair with Sidney Crosby

    News: Phil Kessel solidified his spot with Sidney Crosby after a strong training camp which included three goals and five points.
    Analysis: Coach Mike Johnston initially said Phil Kessel would skate with Evgeni Malkin at some point in training camp but he kept Crosby and Kessel together. The former Leaf will also play on the same power-play unit with Crosby, though the team has toyed with the idea of using Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on separate units. Either way, Kessel is set for a huge year in Pittsburgh.
  • Pens' Kessel Loses 13 Pounds, In Better Shape

    News: Phil Kessel dropped 13 lbs over the summer, according to Darren Dreger of TSN. He worked with Gary Roberts, the vaunted workout guru, to prepare for the season.
    Analysis: Phil Kessel has been slagged for years for his less-than-athletic body and been the butt of jokes about his dietary choices and lack of interest in training. But he's still been able to blow past opponents and rack up the points. Now, he appears to be amped to skate with Sidney Crosby and could be in the best shape of his career. Can you say lift off? He's rising the fantasy charts.
  • Pens Expect Kessel And Crosby To Skate Together

    News: Coach Mike Johnston said that if the season started Tuesday then Phil Kessel would skate on the same line with Sidney Crosby, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
    Analysis: Both Phil Kessel and Crosby are straight-line skaters who figure to put max pressure on opponents right off the bat. Kessel could be in line for some of the best 5-on-5 stats of his career with Pittsburgh in 2015-16. Whomever the Pens pick as the third linemate could have even better value relative to the round he's drafted.
  • Kessel Traded To Penguins

    News: The Maple Leafs traded Phil Kessel, Tyler Biggs, Tim Erixon and a 2016 second-round pick to Pittsburgh on Wednesday in exchange for Nick Spaling, Kasperi Kapanen, Scott Harrington and first- and third-round draft picks in 2016, Sportsnet.ca reports.
    Analysis: Phil Kessel, who is coming off a season in which he notched 25 goals and 61 points in 82 games with the Leafs, to go along with a minus-34 rating, should benefit greatly from the change of scenery. While some may question his level of fitness and tenacity at times, Kessel remains a premier sniper at the NHL level and given his new team context, a 2015-16 bounce-back seems like a probable outcome for the 27-year-old, a dynamic talent when he is on top of his game. Contract-wise, Kessel is in the second year of an eight-year deal that carries an average salary cap hit of $8 million per season, but the Leafs have retained 15 per cent of that ($1.2 million). The Pens hit is just $6.8 million.
  • Leafs' Kessel: Goal Drought At 11 Games

    News: Phil Kessel fired six shots in Toronto's loss to Columbus on Wedneday night, but failed to find the net. His goal drought now stands at 11 games.
    Analysis: He now has one goal in his last 20 games. He has just 24 goals and 35 assists in 81 games and this season will be the first time (other than the lockout shortened year) he fails to record 30 goals since 2007-08. He'll be better next year; he's too talented not to be. But his 2014-15 hangs like an anchor around every fantasy owner's neck. Just move on ... this year.
  • Leafs' Kessel Gets Two More Assists

    News: Phil Kessel picked up two assists in Wednesday's loss to Buffalo.
    Analysis: Yes, a loss to the Sabres. But at least he finished plus-2, something that hasn't happened much in 2015. He does have five assists in his last three games, so maybe he will finish the year with a flourish. Roll the dice.
  • Leafs' Kessel Gets Trio Of Helpers

    News: Phil Kessel had a three-assist night against the Senators on Saturday night. It was his first multi-point game since Feb. 26.
    Analysis: Phil hasn't been much of a thrill in 2015, what with the Leafs in an absolute free fall. He has just 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 38 games since the calendar flipped. He's a hard man to sit, but even harder to activate. Next year? Maybe.
  • Leafs' Kessel: Six Shots And More Engaged In Play

    News: Kesel was held off the scoresheet Monday against Minnesota, but fired six shots and appeared to be more engaged in the play than he has been in months.
    Analysis: This is great news for his beleaguered owners, who have grown frustrated waiting for the talented winger to get back into his scoring ways. Maybe he'll finish with a flourish.
  • Leafs' Kessel Gets Goal, But Has Just 7 In Last 39

    News: Phil Kessel scored the Leafs' only goal in Saturday's 4-1 loss to the Canucks. He notched the snipe on a penalty shot.
    Analysis: It's his 24th of the season, but just his seventh in his last 39 games. Yes, you read that right. He had 17 in his first 31 and appeared to be on track for his first 45 goal season. Now, he'll be lucky to hit 27. He just can't pull himself out of his funk, so reserve him and pray next year will be better.
  • Leafs' Kessel: Assist, But Still In Slump

    News: Phil Kessel picked up an assist in Wednesday's shootout win over Buffalo. He has just five points in his last 14 games.
    Analysis: He's minus-12 and the Leafs have won just four times in that span. The team is struggling and even Phil isn't much of a Thrill, despite all that skill. He's better served on your bench right now.