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PHN Extra: By the Numbers, is it Possible to Replace Phil Kessel?

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Phil Kessel shoots on Carolina Hurricanes goalie
Phil Kessel Shoots: Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire

Setting aside anger that Phil Kessel could be traded this offseason or criticism of anyone who dares mention the possibility, Kessel scored 92 points for the Pittsburgh Penguins (and we’ve heard he’s a two time Stanley Cup champion), which is not easy to replace.

So, what would it take to replace Mr. Kessel?

First, let’s start with the points produced. 92 points is an outlier–a career year for a 30-year-old who gobbled up power-play points. Kessel scored only 70 points, and 59 points in his previous two years with the Penguins. So, for argument sake, let’s assign Kessel an 80-point value.

Second, Kessel scored over 45 percent of his points on the power play. That is probably an untenable rate, especially as the Washington Capitals cracked the code on the Penguins man-advantage by attacking Kessel. The Capitals gave him absolutely no room. So, a more realistic number for power-play points, but still giving Kessel the benefit of the doubt, is 35 (He scored 42 last season).

The power play point deduction also assumes the team cannot duplicate it’s 26.2 percent run, a franchise record, last season. The average power play clicks around 21 percent.

Let us assume the Penguins need to replace 80 points, 45 at even strength and 35 on the power play.

With me so far?

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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