Why Phil Kessel Is the Next Big Thing

Jim ChandleyContributor IMarch 15, 2009

On Saturday, Phil Kessel became the third youngest player ever to score 30 goals in an NHL season.

I don't contend that Kessel is either Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin. Crosby's ability with the puck is far better than Kessel's, and Ovechkin is perhaps the toughest player in the NHL right now.

My contention is that Kessel has some of each of these players' games. He is the owner and landlord of the level directly below these two.

Kessel takes the body, which Crosby has never done. Ovechkin is far and away the best player in the league, but I believe Kessel's scoring ability is very close to Ovechkin's.

Kessel is just as young and headed for just as bright a future.

Saturday was Kessel's first date with 30.  A few years from now, he has a date with 50.