Phil Kessel's stock has risen to the top of the 2006 NHL draft charts after his dominating performance at the world under-18 hockey championship. The 17-year-old forward from Madison, Wis., was considered a highly rated NHL prospect after the world under-20 tournament in Grand Forks, N.D., in January, when he scored a couple of spectacular end-to-end goals and stood out among players older than him. But Kessel was head and shoulders the best player at the world under-18 tournament last month in Plsen, Czech Republic, where he led the U.S. to a gold medal with nine goals and seven assists in six games. He had two goals, including an empty-netter, and two assists in a 5-1 win over Canada in the final and was chosen the top forward of the tournament by the International Ice Hockey Federation. It's been a breakout season for the six-foot, 185-pound forward, but Kessel shrugs it off with the nonchalance of the unduly gifted athlete.