Matthew Kessel drafted by the St. Louis Blues

St. Louis took him in the fifth round


Parker Peters

Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

By Noah Bortle, Sports Editor

The NHL Draft featured one Massachusetts hockey player getting their name called. With the 26th pick in the fifth round and the 150th pick overall, Matthew Kessel was selected to the St. Louis Blues.

Kessel led all freshman defensemen in goals a season ago with seven. The 6-foot-3-inch defenseman featured heavily in Greg Carvel’s lineups, appearing in all of the team’s 34 games. His seven goals were also the most of any defenseman on UMass’ roster.

The pick marks the 31st player to be drafted in the program’s history.

Kessel joins a recent string of players to garner NHL interest after their time in the Minutemen system. Though plenty of UMass players have been drafted and had NHL success under Carvel—most notably this year’s Calder Trophy winner Cale Makar—the storyline in recent years has been the Minutemen’s ability to develop NHL talent. Mario Ferraro, John Leonard, Mitchell Chaffee and Jake McLaughlin offer just a few examples of the program’s ability to groom NHL talent.

In 2020-21 Kessel will represent the fourth player—and third defenseman—on UMass’ roster to be drafted, joining d-men Marc Del Gaizo and Zac Jones and goaltender Filip Lindberg.

As for the Blues, the team is hoping Kessel can help extend a run of recent success headlined by a Stanley Cup in 2019.

Noah Bortle can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @noah_bortle.