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.
It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun.
— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday