UNH’s Kessel signs NHL deal with Philadelphia

New Hampshire junior defenseman Blake Kessel, after deciding in May to forego his senior season to play professionally, has signed with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Kessel was a sixth-round pick of the New York Islanders in the 2007 National Hockey League entry draft and much like what North Dakota’s Jason Gregoire did in May when he left school, he had 30 days to sign with the Islanders or become a free agent as it’s been four years since Kessel was drafted.

Kessel chose the latter.

Kessel became the first Wildcat since Brian Yandle in 2005 and 2006 to earn All-America honors twice in his career. He was named a 2011 Walter Brown Award semifinalist this season and ranked second in Hockey East defensemen scoring with 27 points.

In 114 career games at UNH, Kessel recorded 78 points on 21 goals and 57 assists.