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Future Watch: Blake Kessel


Guest Irishjim
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After being drafted by the New York Islanders in 2007 (6th Round – 166th overall), then becoming a free agent in the summer of 2011, Blake Kessel found himself looking at the open market for his first professional contract.

The Flyers were the team that grabbed Kessel and signed him to an entry-level contract beginning for the 2011-12 season.

“He makes plays and sees the ice good,” said Chris Pryor, the club’s Director of Hockey Operations.

“Guys that can see the ice and make plays back on defense are hard to find now a days. That was one of his attributes that separated himself from other guys.”

Kessel spent some time with the Flyers during training camp and appeared in two preseason games where he posted a plus-1 rating and registered one shot on goal.

He even got to play in a game against his brother, Maple Leafs sniper Phil Kessel, on Sept. 20 where he went on to record over 20 minutes of ice time to help the Flyers to a 4-0 win at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Shortly after preseason, Kessel spent his first year as a pro with the Flyers’ AHL affiliate in Glens Falls where he would post 18 points (1G-17A) and 10 penalty minutes in 56 games with the Adirondack Phantoms.

“It was a transition year for him and it’s a big jump for him coming from college to pro,” added Pryor. “We’ll be looking for big things from him now that he’s got a year under his belt and knows what to expect.”

Prior to signing with the Flyers, he played three seasons with the University of New Hampshire of the Hockey East Conference in the NCAA and was a teammate of current Flyer forward James van Riemsdyk.

In his final season with the Wildcats, Kessel recorded five goals and 22 assists for 27 points in 39 regular season games and was named Hockey East First All-Star Team and NCAA East First All-American Team in 2010-11.

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I often wondered about him as we didn't see him called up at all during the season. Even with all the injuries I thought we would get to see him at least once.

I cannot collectively speak for his body of work, but unless he is the second coming of Bobby Orr, I wouldn't expect him to crack the roster this year.

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Shortly after preseason, Kessel spent his first year as a pro with the Flyers’ AHL affiliate in Glens Falls where he would post 18 points (1G-17A) and 10 penalty minutes in 56 games with the Adirondack Phantoms.

Only 10 PIMs in 56 games tells me he is soft...not very physical. Only 18 pts tells me he isn't very offensive. To me, those don't mix well. You need a D-man to be physical and take some penalties or he needs to be a playmaker/goal scorer. He is neither. Don't waste a call up on him.

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Only 10 PIMs in 56 games tells me he is soft...not very physical. Only 18 pts tells me he isn't very offensive. To me, those don't mix well. You need a D-man to be physical and take some penalties or he needs to be a playmaker/goal scorer. He is neither. Don't waste a call up on him.

Really you can tell all that just by looking at his first year stats...well then the Flyers need to hire you then huh????????????????

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@AlaskaFlyerFan

"Only 10 PIMs in 56 games tells me he is soft...not very physical. Only 18 pts tells me he isn't very offensive. To me, those don't mix well. You need a D-man to be physical and take some penalties or he needs to be a playmaker/goal scorer. He is neither. Don't waste a call up on him."

Sorry bro, but you are going to have to take some lumps on this one. I always thought shot blocking, hits, giveaways / takeaways, break out / passing ability and +/- were the key indicators for a defensemen. Not Pims and points.

"2010-11: Kessel was the top offensive defenseman for New Hampshire as a junior and announced following the season that he would forego his final year of college eligibility. In 39 games with New Hampshire Kessel scored 5 goals with 22 assists and was +6 with 32 PMs. After finishing third in Hockey East the Wildcats lost to Merrimack in the conference semifinals and fell to Notre Dame in the finals of the NCAA Northeast Regional. Kessel was named to the NCAA East First All-American Team."

His current scouting report says he is a two-way defensemen with exceptional passing ability and vision of the ice. I don

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2011 - 2012 (Dal and Phi)

Grossmann 72gp 36pim 0g 11a +5 56sog

Stats aren't everything.

Totally agree that stats aren't everything. I think it is important that you compare stats from guys that played on the same team because they use the same systems, play against the same opponnents, etc. GrossmanN didn't play with Adirondack so I wouldn't use him to compare against.

Compare Kessel's stats to Gustufsson's AHL stats. In half the games, Gus had almost identical stats. It's reasonable to assume that if Gus had played the same number of games as Kessel, he would have doubled his stats, no?

Bourdon had 3 times as many PIMs in 1/3 the number of AHL games.

Manning played 10 AHL games less than Kessel. He scored 5 goals more than Kessel and had 8 times as many PIMs.

The 3 guys I mentioned got called up and Kessel didn't.

@Vanflyer

Blocked shots, hits, giveaways / takeaways, and time on ice stats are not available for AHL players. Not all AHL teams keep track of those (+/- is available, Kessel was minus -1). Adirondack doesn't come down to SATX to play so I didn't see him play. I couldn't tell you how he looks in break outs or passing.

Just looking at the stats that are available, I'm not impressed.

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@AlaskaFlyerFan

"Blocked shots, hits, giveaways / takeaways, and time on ice stats are not available for AHL players. Not all AHL teams keep track of those (+/- is available, Kessel was minus -1). Adirondack doesn't come down to SATX to play so I didn't see him play. I couldn't tell you how he looks in break outs or passing.

Just looking at the stats that are available, I'm not impressed."

Correct on the stats availability for the AHL (you would think that the leagues [nhl / ahl] could piggy back technology).

The stats you cited were points and pims. Please tell me you do not judge a player based on those alone- particularly a defensemen!! I ended my post by saying lets at least watch him play. Can we do that? At least recall the bus that you drove him under.

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@AlaskaFlyerFan

Correct on the stats availability for the AHL (you would think that the leagues [nhl / ahl] could piggy back technology).

The stats you cited were points and pims. Please tell me you do not judge a player based on those alone- particularly a defensemen!! I ended my post by saying lets at least watch him play. Can we do that? At least recall the bus that you drove him under.

The NHL uses touch screen computers to keep stats. The AHL uses older technology..stubby pencils and tablet paper. It would be nice if the AHL could catch up, but unfortunately it isn't in the budget. We don't even have overhead goal cameras.

I would love to see him play. But right now, all I have to judge him on are those stats and I'm not impressed. Maybe he plays better than the picture his stats paint. I will give him the benifit of the doubt. He did play the year in the AHL and wasn't sent down so he must have at least held his own.

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@AlaskaFlyerFan

"But right now, all I have to judge him on are those stats and I'm not impressed. Maybe he plays better than the picture his stats paint."

So you have not watched him play and judge him on ppg and pims?? Really?? Not trying to be a hard ass, but it seems a bit absurd to make any kind of judgment call based on that- imho.

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@AlaskaFlyerFan

Stats don't necessarily project, look at round one versus round two for the Flyers. My point is listing Grossmann centers around his unimpressive stats, and the ludicrious thought that accordingly, he would be useless. Guys don't have to put up the sexy stats to get the job done. I'd rather Grossmann every day of the week over Mike Green for example.

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I watched this kid at UNH. Didn't really impress too much, seemed cocky, wasn't close to the best d on the team, and suprised he actually went pro. I think he got a lot of attention for his name (being near boston). Maybe he will develop more, but guys, don't get your hopes up for him or you'll be waiting longer than you are for JVR (who also looked like shite at UNH (for a 2nd overall pick)).

Edited by jackhole
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@jackhole

"wasn't close to the best d on the team"

What d were better on the team (if he wasn't close to being the best on the team)? I am just curious because he was named Hockey East All-American. So if he wasn't close to the best on the team defensively, certainly those better than him were All-Americans as well?? Just wondering.....

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@Vanflyer

Alright, I guess I better qualify that by saying second or third on the team. On the nights I attended UNH games (don't get their tv broadcasts) he really played horrible, missed breakout passes, getting beat wide, failing to keep the puck in on his point. Which is why I was always shocked to see that he did put up some points, and the all american nom etc. To me Matt Campanale, was more poised and alert, Kipp, too seemed to do a lot positive things that don't always show up on the score card.

Knowing he was in the flyers' system, I was looking for more. Perhaps he just didn't 'bring it' on the 5-6 games I attended. Obviously he's got some accollades for his play, but I didn't see a dominant player, to my disappointment.

I will say I felt similar toward JVR during his tenure. Being the 'prize' for our horrible '07 campaign, I was looking for him to really dominate play in the ECAC. But watching JVR gave me a sinking feeling as he always seemed an 'individual' on the ice. And not in a selfish way, but just incongruent with his teammates. He'd get his points off odd situations; pucks off his leg, strange board bounces, what I call the 'stumble and huck' (a staple of my personal play:) ) where he'd persistantly persue a puck he was loosing control of, then desperately 'huck' it to the net - and score, instead of working plays with his linemates to create opportunities. Leaving me with thoughts of 'we should've tanked in '04.

Hopefully, they both will prove my assertions wrong.

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@jackhole

Great response. I obviously have no personal observation. I guess in the end, perhaps he will be a decent minor league d-man.

On JVR, while I continue to hope for him, for whatever reason he (in my and many others opinions) messed up by going to play for ECAS / NCAA. He should have gone to Juniors (either OHL or WHL). It would have served him so much more. It is hard for me because I respect folks that want to get an education. Yet, when you already have a contract awaiting you that will pay you 10's of thousands of dollars (Millions), the education can come later. Just do a Pat Falloon or that other guy that wanted to be an actor and was banging pamela anderson for a bit!!!

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