The Minnesota Golden Gophers losts another player to the NHL as sophomore Phil Kessel signed a multi-year contract with the Boston Bruins.
“Phil is a player with world-class speed and gifted offensive talents,” said Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli. “We feel he is ready to begin his professional development and we are looking forward to seeing him compete at training camp.”
Kessel, 18, was Boston’s first pick, fifth overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft held on June 24, 2006 in Vancouver. He played one season at Minnesota in 2005-06, finishing second on the team and sixth overall in league scoring with 18 goals and 33 assists for 51 points in 34 games while also leading his club in plus/minus with a +22 rating. He was named the WCHA’s Rookie of the Year and earned a berth on the WCHA All-Rookie Team.
Last week he took part in the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Kessel is the fourth Gopher to leave for the pros this offseason following Danny Irmen, Kris Chucko and Ryan Potulny.