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Amanda Kessel Only Wants to Play in Boston

After taking a year off to work with the Pittsburgh Penguins, three-time Olympian Amanda Kessel was drafted 41st in the PWHL Draft to PWHL Montreal. 

Yesterday, sources said that Kessel only wants to play for PWHL Boston. Boston had the 40th pick. Kessel was two picks away from being an undrafted free agent, which would have opened up the opportunity of going to Boston. Montreal either has to trade Kessel to her preferred destination, or she will have to report to the team.

Why Didn’t Boston Take Kessel A Pick Sooner?

Boston selected Hadley Hartmetz with their 40th pick. A defender from Ohio State, she scored 59 career points in her three seasons with the Buckeyes. Out of all the Ohio State defensive players in this year’s draft, Hartmetz plays best as an offensive defender.  

Boston is a solid defensive team but had the lowest-scoring offence in the whole league. A player like Hartmetz will hopefully help to improve their offence on the scoresheet. 

Comparing Kessel to Hartmetz is difficult, as they are different players who play different roles. Kessel is a veteran player with years of professional playing experience who could help Boston offensively. However, the more likely reason she didn’t get drafted by the club is because of a potential conflict of interest.  

Kessel’s sister-in-law is Boston’s head coach, Courtney Brichard-Kessel. While there have been times in the NHL when fathers and brothers have coached their sons and siblings, this would be the first instance in the PWHL where a family member would be coaching another family member. Perhaps Boston didn’t want to take that risk, or they simply didn’t see how Kessel would fit into their squad. 

To play for any PWHL team, Kessel needed to declare for the draft in order to sign a standard contract. The hope was that no one would pick her up and she could sign with Boston. But, Montreal took her off the board, second to last. 

What Team Could Use Kessel Most?

Starting with the team that drafted her, Montreal could use her skill, versatility, and leadership qualities. Kessel has proved she is a talented player throughout her career and will undoubtedly make an impact from the start in Montreal. However, being drafted so low could mean they would instead use Kessel to support their current stars rather than be her own standout star. 

A team that Kessel would be a key player on would be PWHL Toronto. Her and Izzy Daniel, a third-round draft pick this year from Cornell, would bring much-needed offensive support to Toronto. New York could use her veteran presence as they continue to work out the kinks. Boston could use her too, and reunite her with Team USA teammates Hilary Knight, Aerin Frankel and Megan Keller to hopefully help them win a championship.  

Kessel will have to play in Montreal or request to be traded. While she could pull an Eric Lindros or a Cutter Gauthier and refuse to play for the team that drafted her entirely, it is more likely one of those two things will happen. The return for Kessel would have to be quite valuable for Montreal, with both players and draft picks involved. As she continues her return to hockey, it will be exciting to see her out on the ice again, regardless of the city she is in.

Main Photo: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports


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