The Elite Play of Phil Kessel

For the Pittsburgh Penguins, Phil Kessel is playing extraordinarily well. He’s already surpassed his goals scored and points total from last year in only 67 games. He’s over a point per game player is has created his own line, but still versatile all throughout the lineup. In short, he’s playing at an elite level. But none of this is new information for any fan that follows Phil Kessel. However, he is doing something special this season – he’s playing at an amazingly effective rate.

Before I discuss player effectiveness, let me go over how Kessel is playing in general. Here you’ll see his scoring growth. Compare this to Nikita Kucherov or Alexander Ovechkin and you’ll see no difference. Kessel is playing that great.

Not only is he producing at an excellent rate, he’s playing well against the Metropolitan division and helping the Penguins get into first place.

Now, let’s look at his effectiveness. I’ve described a player’s effectiveness as the sum of other effectivenesses: offensive, defensive, on-ice, and penalty. Offensive effectiveness is the weighted sum of goal, assist, and shot effectiveness. Defensive effectiveness is affected by hits and blocking. On-ice is directly related to the player’s shift length and Corsi For%. Penalty effectiveness is measured through the ratio of penalty minutes and team penalty minutes and plus-minus. For Phil Kessel, his effectiveness is at an elite level.

Finally, we can see how this compares to his Corsi For% as well as seeing how he plays against a specific team. This bubble chart shows his effectiveness as the size of the bubble. The color of the bubble is how many points scored that game. As you can see, Corsi and Effectiveness are not directly related as they both measure different parts of his play.

All in all, Kessel is playing absurdly well. His scoring and passing excellence has him in conversation for the NHL leader in scoring. Not only is he scoring extremely well. but he is also working as a team player to help the Penguins win games.

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