Orlando, Fla. – The Orlando Solar Bears, ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild and Toronto Maple Leafs and AHL’s Iowa Wild and Toronto Marlies, announced that they have acquired defenseman Blake Kessel from the Bakersfield Condors in exchange for future considerations.
A sixth-round selection (166th overall) by the New York Islanders in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Kessel had two assists in two games with Bakersfield this season.
Kessel, the brother of Toronto Maple Leafs’ center Phil Kessel, finished last season second in scoring among ECHL defensemen with 41 points (8g-33a) in 54 games with the Trenton Titans. He added four points (2g-2a) in seven games with the Adirondack Phantoms of the American Hockey League. Kessel began his professional career in 2011-12 with Adirondack, playing 56 games and recording 18 points (1g-17a).
A native of Madison, Wis., Kessel played three seasons (2008-11) for the University of New Hampshire, winning the Hockey East regular-season championship in 2009-10. Kessel was selected as a First Team All-American in 2010-11 and to the Hockey East First All-Star Team in 2009-10 and 2010-11.
He played two seasons (2006-08) for the Waterloo Blackhawks in the United States Hockey League where he had 95 points (30g-65a) in 118 games from 2006-08. After being selected to the USHL All-Rookie team in 2006-07, Kessel won the USHL Defenseman of the Year Award while leading all defensemen in goals (19), assists (38) and points (57) in 2007-08.