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Completely Unfair Kessel Comparison that is Nonetheless Fun

So many prospects, so few jobs.
So many prospects, so few jobs.

Reminder: Doug Weight's big announcement is today at 11 a.m. Meanwhile, our mock draft made it through Columbus last night. We'll have more on the Kyle Okposo contract later, but on-going discussion is in this Fanshot.

Consider, if you will, the record of two NCAA defensemen, both in Hockey East:

Player A GP G A Pts PIM
Age 18
38 5 18 23 77
Age 19
40 13 36 49 50
Age 20 43 3 39 42 44
Age 21 42 6 37 43 57
Total 163 27 130 157 228
Player B GP G A Pts PIM
Age 19
37 6 7 13 14
Age 20
38 10 28 38 28
Age 21
39 5 22 27 32
Total 114 21 57 78 74

Both had a year or two that makes you think they keyed some offense. Player A is 6'0", 193, while Player B is 6'2", 210. Are you particularly moved by either of them?

Player A is Mike Mottau, who played for Boston College from 1996-2000.

Player B is Blake Kessel, who played for UNH from 2008-2011 after playing two seasons of USHL.

Kessel, of course, recently decided to leave UNH before his senior year to pursue the pros. Thanks to a CBA loophole, if he waits until after June 1 he does not have to sign with the Islanders.


Ways This Comparison Is Completely Unfair

  • Their college careers were a decade apart.
  • They played on completely different teams. Mottau's future-NHLer teammates included: Brian Gionta, Marty Reasoner, Scott Clemmensen, Rob Scuderi, Brooks Orpik. Kessel's future-NHLer teammates included: James van Riemsdyk (Freshman year), Bobby Butler...maybe another one or two if they're lucky.
  • Stats for defensemen are incomplete and unfair. Even more so in college.
  • Mottau has played 278 NHL games, hauling close to $3 million in salary.

Ways This Comparison Is Nonetheless Fun

  • You have a 6th-round pick and a 7th-round pick. Their routes to the NHL are bound to be winding.
  • Each was looked to as go-to offensive defensemen on their college teams -- which is the role of good players at lower levels overall. But that could not and would not be their route to the NHL. Determining Kessel's fate rests not on whether he can score, but whether he can defend against NHLers. It took Mottau eight pro seasons and his third NHL team before he saw his 30th NHL game.
  • While Mottau was BC's top scoring D-man during his time there, Scuderi and Orpik were not -- and they stepped into clear defense-first roles in the NHL.
  • People around here are pretty down on Mottau, whose tough season was limited to 20 games by two major injuries. But his destiny is sort of "third pair" defenseman, which you have to imagine is what Kessel can hope for at this point.

As was discussed last month and earlier this week, between the AHL and NHL the Islanders pro D pipeline for 2011-12 is fast filling up. So I could understand why -- if Kessel is determined to leave college now -- he might shop for other offers given the rights the CBA provides him. Not so much a numbers thing as an opportunity thing. (On that note, we don't even know that the Islanders offered him anything nor wanted him to leave college now. Last month's flirtation sounded a lot like the player side, while the club has more pro contracts coming off the books next summer.)

On the other hand, Kessel has some size, and homegrown is more fun. So it'll be a bit of a shame if his route to the NHL -- should he make it -- passes through multiple other teams.

The way Mike Mottau's did.