After being named captain at the start of the 2009-10 season following the departure of Chris Dyment, the 24-year-old native of Thunder Bay, Ontario will serve as the Trenton Devils official on-ice leader for the second season in a row.
“It’s really nice, it’s a privilege to be captain and to be looked at by the coaching staff as a leader on this team,” Kell said.
“This will be my fourth year here, so I kind of know the ropes and I know what it’s like to be battling all year. I can pass that along to some of the younger guys, I think.”
Of course, as is the case with a lot of players on Trenton’s roster this season, Kell wasn’t so sure he’d be in the ECHL again. After tallying 35 points (16-19-35) in 44 games on the heels of a 50 point campaign the season prior, he’d put himself in good position to make a run at a roster spot in Albany.
“It’s kind of disappointing getting sent down from Albany. I signed a one-way American League contract, so I was expecting to be there,” he told me.
“But with their situation in Newark right now, you never know what’s going to happen. I think the lineups are going to change a lot this year. It’s a little disappointing, but I like the situation here. I know I’m going to be playing a lot, and I’m going to be surrounded by good teammates and a good organization.”
Kell, who has played in 16 AHL contests over the course of the past three seasons, will likely again be one of the first in line for a potential call-up this season. And while it may be difficult to start yet another season two levels away from the NHL, it’s certainly an exciting time to be a part of the Devils organization right now, and Kell is going to try to make the most of his latest opportunity.
“Any time you’re given the captaincy anywhere, you can’t really complain,” he said.
“I’m going to just roll with it this year and hopefully have another good year and see what happens.”
And for as long as Kell is here, he’ll be leading a more talented group than the one he was in charge of last year.
“I think we look a lot deeper and look more experienced,” he said.
“Our young guys, they don’t really look like the young guys out there. They’re stepping in and filling roles and playing well.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com