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DEV CAMP: Kesselring physically prepared for college hockey

"I think I grew another inch and a half or two and then I gained probably 15 pounds since last year... I think I'm ready to go for college," said defence prospect Michael Kesselring

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Beware. 

Scrumming Michael Kesselring could cause a sore neck.

The Oilers sixth-round selection in the 2018 NHL Draft is listed as 6-foot-6 but with his skates on, hovers around the 6-foot-8 range. There's no question that the former USHL defender - who will join the Northeastern Huskies next season - has grown since his last go-around at Oilers Development Camp. 

The 203-pounder confirmed it on Tuesday after the Oilers defence prospects finished their on-ice session. The defenceman believes it will bode well for him when he transitions to the NCAA in 2019-20.

"I think I grew another inch and a half or two and then I gained probably 15 pounds since last year," said the Manchester, NH, product. "It was a big year for me development-wise and I think I'm ready to go for college."

The 164th-overall pick moves into summer school next Monday, so getting prepared physically for the upcoming campaign was a major goal. And much like his scale, Kesselring's offensive game has taken off. 

The 19-year-old finished '18-19 with nine goals and 25 assists split between the Des Moines Buccaneers and Fargo Force but saw his offensive output skyrocket with Fargo.

Video: DEV CAMP | Michael Kesselring

After posting just two goals and 12 points in 33 games with Des Moines, the tall rearguard compiled seven markers and 22 points after being traded.

"I think in Fargo they just let me play," Kesselring said. "I learned a lot on how to move the puck and join late because in prep school I could carry it around a little bit more. 

"I think I could carry that into Northeastern next year."

College hockey is a big step but given his body's maturation, Kesselring believes he's ready for it. What will also help with the transition is guidance from coaches Jim Madigan and Jerry Keefe, plus friendly advice from Northeastern alumnus and Oilers defender Matt Benning.

"Jerry Keefe and Jim Madigan are doing a very good job," Kesselring said. "Matt Benning's here, he played for them and I talked to him. He had nothing but good things to say. I know they're going to let me play. 

"There's a good opportunity for me next year."

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