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Philadelphia Flyers Top 25 Under 25, #24: Blake Kessel

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Blake Kessel skates with the USA Under 18 team. (Getty Images)

At this point in his career, Adirondack Phantoms defenseman and Philadelphia Flyers prospect Blake Kessel is probably best known for being related to Maple Leafs superstar Phil Kessel. Or maybe he's best known for the awesome website he created while attending the University of New Hampshire. You remember, don't you?

Kessel's the 24th ranked prospect in the organization according to our Top 25 Under 25 list this fall, and he faces a big year with the Phantoms in 2012-13 as he gets over that "transition year" to the pros, according to Flyers' director of hockey ops Chris Pryor.

Drafted in 2007 by the Islanders, he used a CBA loophole a year ago to leave the Isles' organization (and his collegiate career after just three seasons) and hit free agency. The Flyers invited him to training camp last fall and after just a few days, the team offered him . He's signed here through the end of next season.

Last season was Kessel's first as a professional after he spent three years with the UNH Wildcats. He was originally a forward up until his days with the USHL's Waterloo Black Hawks and he still carries those tendencies a bit as a defenseman, jumping up into the rush frequently.

With Adirondack last year, Kessel scored one goal, had 17 assists and 10 penalty minutes in his time under former coach Joe Paterson. Kessel should be a big piece of the defense this upcoming season with the Phantoms under new head coach Terry Murray, and with the likely influx of NHL-level talent in the AHL early this season thanks to the lockout, the test will only be greater for Kessel.

See how our Top 25 Under 25 panel voted for Kessel after the jump.

Votes for Blake Kessel:

  • Geoff Detweiler at No. 18 (8 points)
  • Frank Seravalli at No. 17 (9 points)
  • Dustin Leed at No. 22 (4 points)
  • Eric T. at No. 24 (2 points)
  • Travis Hughes at No. 21 (5 points)
  • 28 total points

How we voted at No. 24:

  • Travis Hughes: Tye McGinn
  • Geoff Detweiler: Matthew Konan
  • Eric T.: Blake Kessel
  • Frank Seravalli: Fredrick Larsson
  • Marcello De Feo: Valeri Vasiliev
  • Dustin Leed: Taylor Leier
  • Bill Meltzer: Michael Parks
  • Anthony SanFilippo: Matt Mangene
  • OrangeNblack: Tye McGinn