Labor Day weekend was one of good news for Jim Madigan and his coaching staff, as they landed a commitment from highly sought-after defenseman recruit Michael Kesselring, a 2000-born right-shot defenseman from New Hampshire.
Kesselring was formerly committed to Merrimack, but after the coaching change that saw Mark Dennehy leave and Scott Borek take over in North Andover, he asked for release from his National Letter of Intent and re-opened his commitment. Northeastern has fallen victim themselves to this exact situation with previous commits Johnny Gaudreau (who went to Boston College) and Jon Gillies (Providence).
Kesselring is an offensive defenseman with imposing size, standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 190 pounds. He was ranked 75th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting ahead of the 2018 NHL Draft, and was selected in the sixth round, 164th overall by the Edmonton Oilers. His commitment gives Northeastern four players drafted in the 2018 NHL Draft, a new program record for one draft.
Last season while at New Hampton Prep, he tallied 34 points in 38 games, including 11 goals. He also played 11 games for Des Moines of the USHL, and he racked up two assists. At prep school he was coached by his father Casey, who played three seasons as a forward at Merrimack, finishing his career as one of Merrimack’s best scorers in their history. Michael’s mother, Shawndra, also attended Merrimack and played basketball.
Kesselring was rated as a 4 star recruit from the scouting service Neutral Zone. In an interview with this past June, his father was asked to describe his son as a player, and replied “he skates well for a big kid. He’s not overly physical, but he’s smart and can get things going on the powerplay. In the same interview, Michael was asked to describe himself, and replied “I move the puck and can get up into the play and create offense.” In terms of areas to improve upon, he noted “fill out my frame, stay in the gym, and as a bigger guy you always have to work on your skating.”
Along these lines, Neutral Zone said of Kesselring: “Athletic defender that can pass or carry the puck from his end. Good acceleration and mobility at 6’4”. High ceiling.” To help along his path of development, Kesselring attended Edmonton’s prospect development camp at the end of June.
Kesselring will play the 2018-19 season in Des Moines before enrolling to Northeastern in Fall 2019. He is projected to be the fourth defenseman of that class, joining Jeremie Bucheler, Dan Petrick, and Tyler Spott in our projections (which are obviously subject to change). We expect Jeremy Davies and possibly Ryan Shea to leave school after their junior seasons, so if that comes to fruition, Kesselring will be counted on to fill some offensive holes left by the departures.
Congratulations to Michael on his commitment to the Huskies! You can follow us on Twitter for more Northeastern Men’s Hockey news @NUHockeyBlog.
As always, go Huskies!