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As we all know, Phil Kessel has not had the luxury of playing with a top line playmaker since he was centered by Marc Savard in Boston. In his final year with the Bruins, Kessel netted a career-high 36 goals at the young age of 21. Since then, he has had 30 (2010) and 32 (2011) goal seasons respectively, giving him 3 consecutive years of at least 30 goals.
Take the comparison of Kessel versus Zach Parise, for instance:
Parise (Season 1): 81-14-18-32; Age 21
Parise (Season 2): 82-31-31-62; Age 22
Parise (Season 3): 81-32-33-65; Age 23
Parise (Season 4): 82-45-49-94; Age 24
Kessel (Season 1): 70-11-18-29; Age 19
Kessel (Season 2): 82-19-18-37; Age 20
Kessel (Season 3): 70-36-34-60; Age 21
Kessel (Season 4): 70-30-25-55; Age 22
Kessel (Season 5): 82-32-32-64; Age 23
The main difference is that Kessel started his NHL career at 19, while Parise began his at 21. When you compare their numbers in correlation to their age, the results are eerily similar. If this pattern continues, Kessel is due for 40+ goals and 90+ points next season. The question that remains is, will Tim Connolly stay healthy and provide Kessel with the opportunity to join the elite company of his fellow American Parise?