Phil Kessel is about to have his best season yet.
At least, that’s what ex-Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson predicts.
Wilson told NHL.com he expects the former Maple Leafs sniper will find great success with the Pittsburgh Penguins, a win-now team to which Kessel was dealt in the blockbuster trade of July 1.
“Pittsburgh is building a team that wants to win the Stanley Cup now, and I think Phil is only going to add to their success, so I expect him to score at least 40 goals this year and be a dominant player again,” Wilson said.
Wilson, whose time behind the Leafs bench spanned from 2008 to 2012, coached Kessel to three 30-plus points seasons.
To date, Kessel’s career-high in goals is 37 — a total he reached in 2011-12 and 2013-14.
As for who centres the new winger? It doesn’t matter, said Wilson.
“Whether he plays with Malkin or Sid, he’s got a center iceman who can get him the puck and do things on his own,” Wilson said. “In Toronto he didn’t quite have that.”