Phil Kessel has been around the NHL for a long time and there are a few significant milestones that he has a real chance of reaching over the next three seasons.
The 31-year-old winger entered the league as a fresh-faced 19-year-old immediately after being selected fifth overall by the Boston Bruins in the 2006 Draft.
As a rookie, Kessel impressed the entire hockey world after receiving a cancer diagnosis that required surgery, only missing 12 games all season and winning the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his perseverance during such a difficult time.
Since his rookie season, Kessel has been one of the better points producers in the entire league and is currently on an impressive iron-man streak that has not been broken since before the 2010/11 season.
Having played in the NHL for so many years, here are four milestones that Kessel will achieve or at least has a realistic chance of achieving before the remaining three years of his contract are up.
1000 Regular Season Games
As previously mentioned, Kessel is currently going through an exceptionally long iron-man streak that has seen the Madison, Wisconsin native feature in every single regular season game possible since the start of the 2010/11 season.
With such a long streak still ongoing, it is expected that Kessel will hit the coveted 1000 regular season appearances by the fourth game of the 2019/20 season.
Kessel currently has 996 regular season games under his belt, so the first of his significant milestones should be achieved when the Coyotes travel to face the Colorado Avalanche on October 13th.
If Kessel can continue his iron-man streak throughout his time with the Coyotes, he could finish his current contract with 1242 regular season games - putting him in the Top 100 all-time NHL appearance list, overtaking players such as Brian Leetch, Keith Tkachuk, Vincent Lecavalier, and Chris Pronger.
But before he can even think about that, Kessel needs to first reach the 1000-game mark this season.
At the time of writing, there have been 97 players to reach 400 goals in the NHL and Phil Kessel has a legitimate chance of eclipsing this mark over the next three seasons.
Kessel has scored 20 goals or more every season since scoring 36 for the Boston Bruins in 2008/09.
He has 357 goals to his name currently, putting him just 43 away from joining less than 100 players on the all-time record list.
Coyotes legend Shane Doan had 402 goals throughout his career and Kessel could find himself leapfrogging him if he scores as low as 20 in each of the next three seasons.
It is highly unlikely that Kessel will have a career year and score 43 in 2019/20, but by the end of the 2020/21 season the American winger should have secured his place among NHL royalty.
If Kessel scored 65 goals over the next three seasons, averaging just under 22 goals a season, he would finish his contract sitting on 422 goals - this would put him joint-78th on the all-time goals list alongside Owen Nolan.
This particular milestone should realistically be achieved during the 2019/20 season, with Kessel only needing 34 more assists to reach the 500 mark, which would place him 146th on the current all-time leader list.
If Kessel reaches 500 assists, he would need just 12 more to tie current Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet’s own record of 512.
Kessel has seen his playmaking production improve in recent seasons, where he has relied less on his goalscoring and has contributed more key passes as a result.
Kessel should eat a decent chunk into the 500s after reaching the milestone and could find himself pushing towards another Top-100 appearance in the record books.
Arguably the most significant milestone that Kessel has a chance of reaching during his time with the Arizona Coyotes is the 1000-point mark, an achievement that just 88 players have reached to date.
Kessel currently sits just 177 total points away from the historic milestone and could make his case for the Hall of Fame even stronger if he can reach it before his time in the desert is up.
Kessel needs to average exactly 59 points a season to end the 2021/22 season with exactly 1000 points, overtaking the likes of Tocchet, Doan, Henrik Zetterberg, and Dave Keon as some of the players to have fallen short.
The two-time Stanley Cup champion has a chance to enter his name into the all-time record books during the next three seasons with the Arizona Coyotes and it will be exciting to watch it all unfold once he takes to the ice in a Coyotes jersey this October.