A Kessel is coming to Kalamazoo. Late Monday night, the Kalamazoo Wings orchestrated a three-team trade that resulted in the Wings acquiring the top scoring blueliner in the ECHL, Blake Kessel. Kessel, brother of the legendary Amanda Kessel and former Maple Leaf Phil, has scored 7 goals and recorded 16 assists so far this season for the Atlanta Gladiators.
The full deal also included the Florida Everblades. Kalamazoo traded the rights to Adam Brace (acquired from the Orlando Solar Bears last week) to the Everblades for Cory Syvert and Peter Schneider. The Wings then sent Syvert to Atlanta for Kessel.
Brace never reported to Kalamazoo following his trade last week and appeared to have no intention of suiting up for the Wings. Turning that into new assets, especially defensive assets, is a solid move by the front office. While the offensively inclined Kessel might not help stop a defense that is allowing 3.3 goals a game he should help an offense that is only scoring 2.2 goals a game.
Kesell brings not only his famous last name, but also 160 games of ECHL experience (mostly with the Orlando Solar Bears) and 77 games of AHL experience. He was a 6th round draft pick of the New York Islanders in 2007 and turned pro after playing three seasons at the University of New Hampshire. The 27-year-old has also played overseas.
He brings offense to the defensive game. A smooth-skating, puck-moving defender is the best way to describe his game. He enjoys joining the rush, which should help with the offensively-starved Wings.
Peter Schneider, the other player picked up on Monday, will also help at both ends of the ice. Despite not being as dynamic a scorer as Kessel, the forward garnered 37 points last season with the Indy Fuel. In 84 ECHL games he has 49 points and is a career +7. He also graduated from Notre Dame with a double major in economics and finance.
ICYMI: @pschneids91 took the #4 spot in our #FuelTop10 countdown with this beauty. #CoastToCoastButterTheToast https://t.co/upQXzoWYIA— Indy Fuel (@IndyFuel) July 16, 2016
Both players should see their debut on Wednesday against the Elmira Jackals.
In addition to the trades, the Wings also announced that they signed forward Kyle Blarney to an ECHL contract. The 5’8” forward had appeared in four games with Kalamazoo this season on a PTO. In those 4 games he has registered 1 assist.