RALEIGH, NC – Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel was drafted 5th overall in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins in 2006, but last night at the 2011 All-Star Fantasy Draft, Kessel found out what it’s like to be the very last pick.
Patrick Kane, assistant captain of Team Lidstrom, announced the pick saying of Kessel “we’re very happy with our last choice”.
It was kind of an awkward moment not only for fans watching on television, but as you can only imagine, for Kessel himself.
However, it wasn’t much of a surprise to see Kessel go last, as the many mock draft projections were spot on in their rankings, but the surprise element was still there when TSN host James Duthie announced that the last pick would be receiving a new car and a $20,000 donation to his favourite charity.
Like Duthie commented once the pick was announced, there are hundreds of other players around the NHL that would considered it a blessing to be apart of a game such as this, but I feel that Leaf fans will still take the incident as a microcosm of their underachieving past few seasons.
That being said, does it really matter? The All-Star game is all about fun anyways, and Leaf fans should be happy they even have a player competing in the event.
The 23-year-old forward is having what some would say another inconsistant year with 19 goals, 34 points and a -19 rating in 49 games, on a stacked All-Star team with some of the best players from around the world, Kessel only fits in on the fourth line anyways.
The new format for picking teams seemed to be a success, and sure made things a bit more interesting for fans, which was the main goal to achieve with the change.
For Kessel, one thing remains certain – he got picked in the first round of the only draft that really matters.