The 22-year-old Kessel spent the past three seasons at the University of New Hampshire and was teammates with James van Riemsdyk for one season. Kessel had 5 goals and 22 assists as a junior last season.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Kessel spent two seasons with Waterloo of the USHL before attending UNH. He is also a cousin of Calgary Flames forward David Moss.
Unless he really collapses, I don't see him going anywhere. I've been very impressed with his composure and maturity. Once the regular season started, he was a different guy; it was like game on and almost as if he's been around for a long time.
— Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon on rookie defenseman Aaron Ekblad