Pittsburgh Penguins players Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin are both new to the city for the 2015-16 season. This postseason, the duo has become a valuable asset to the team, who have helped to lead them to the Stanley Cup Final.
Kessel has 59 points this season, 26 goals and 33 assists. Hagelin has 27 points, 10 goals and 17 assists.
Individually, they are a mix of speed of shot accuracy, but together they are a dynamic duo.
Kessel began his NHL career with the Boston Bruins in the 2006-07 season. From there, he went on to play with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and eventually the Pittsburgh Penguins.
At the young age of 19, Kessel was diagnosed with testicular cancer, right at the start of his hockey career. After that, he was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is given to the player who shows qualities of perseverance, dedication, and sportsmanship.
The Maple Leafs traded two first-round picks and one second-round pick to acquire Kessel. He was initially given a five-year contract. During his time with the Leafs, Kessel was considered the player who would save the team.
However, Kessel just did not sync up with the Leafs. He did not live up to his potential despite his excellent play. What mattered to the Leafs was that he did not lead them to win the Stanley Cup.
Then he came to the Penguins.
Kessel worked well with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and found his line with Hagelin and Nick Bonino. He was allowed to do what he does best – score.
This postseason Kessel is living up to his potential and more. The right winger has a career playoff total of 42 points, 23 goals and 19 assists, and it has been showing in Pittsburgh.
Hagelin is known for his speed, which is one of the reasons the Penguins initially wanted him. The team knew what they were lacking in and Hagelin was the key.
So far this postseason, Hagelin has sped past two teams and scored for the Penguins, advancing them and giving the team a shot at the Cup.
He was challenged last series against the Washington Capitals, a team who is well-versed in speed. This did not stop the Penguins from advancing, however, as it was a challenge that only improved them.
Hagelin started his NHL career in the 2011-12 season with the New York Rangers. From there, he went to play for the Anaheim Ducks for one season, and then he came to Pittsburgh.
He plays well with Kessel, setting up necessary goals and understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Meshing with the team in both of the player’s first season has not only helped the Penguins but helped Kessel and Hagelin individually.
The Penguins are a team that uses the players for their strengths rather than pushing them to be what they are not. This allows the player to realize their potential as well as helping the team to be the best that it can.