Finally, Blake Kessel is joining the Kalamazoo Wings. Almost two months after being traded to the Wings, the high-scoring defender will finally suit up in the blue and red. In an unrelated trade, the Wings also traded Tyler Shattock to the Alaska Aces for Justin Breton.
Kessel, 27, failed to report to the team when the Wings initially acquired him from the Atlanta Gladiators in November. After not showing up he was suspended from the team while they worked with his representation. At the time of his trade Kessel was leading all defenders in points with 23 (7 goals and 16 assists) and would have added much needed offense to a Kalamazoo team that was struggling to find the back of the net.
While he didn’t lace up his skates at the Wings Event Center (and thus failed to play in a sweet, sweet Ugly Christmas Sweater jersey) he did take his talents to the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL on a PTO contract. During the 8 games in Milwaukee he recorded 2 assists for the Admirals. He was released from his PTO on New Year’s Day after Nashville (Milwaukee’s parent club) reassigned Adam Pardy to the Admirals.
Kessel joins a Wings team that is playing its best hockey of the season having won six of their last 10 games to climb up to 5th in the Central Division. His offensive prowess will help a team that, despite starting to score more in recent games, is 23rd overall in goals scored on the season.
Shattock had appeared in 37 games for the Wings this season and had recorded 7 goals and 16 assists (oddly enough, the same exact scoring line as Kessel). He was moved to Alaska for forward Justin Breton who has 76 points in 149 career games with the Aces.
In one final move, the Wings traded goaltender Keegan Asmundson to the Tulsa Oilers for future considerations. With Nick Riopel back from his duties as backup in Syracuse there was no need for the team to carry three goaltenders. Asmundson appeared in one game for the Wings, stopping 42 shots in a 5-1 win over the Wheeling Nailers.
The Wings return to action on Friday in Brampton as they take on the Beast at 7:15pm.