Justin Kea Looking to Bounce Back


Yesterday the Rochester Americans of the AHL announced that forward Justin Kea had been assigned to the ECHL’s, and Rochester affiliate, Elmira Jackals. Kea had previously been with the Jackals before being called up rather recently. Kea could’ve been beginning his first full year with the Americans and was looking to show that he can transport his skills from the OHL to the AHL.

Kea had previously been with the Saginaw Spirit for the 2013-14 season. It is in the OHL where Kea has his best numbers so far. He posted 22 goal seasons in 2012-2014, including a 102 point season in 2012-2013.

The Buffalo Sabres drafted Kea in the 2012 Entry Draft and expected a somewhat decent performance from the 6’0″ 201 lb center. They got nothing short of that when he notched the two seasons previously mentioned.

It would have been very interseting to see what kind of performance Kea would have in the AHL, where the competition is significantly higher than the OHL. His defensive toolbox would surely help him with much more skilled players than he would see in the OHL.

Instead of seeing start the year in Rochester, Kea will begin in Elmira and in the ECHL. Kea must now prove that his skill set is the right one for the AHL, and eventually the NHL.

It also comes as a surprise that the Sabres organization would put Kea in the ECHL after showing trust in his development when he signed a entry level contract over the past summer.

Hopefully Kea can build off of this setback and take steps forward in his development. Being in the ECHL doesn’t help his growth very much. With Rochester, Kea can play with the likes of Mikhail Grigorenko, who can definitely turn his career in the right direction.

Justin Kea shouldn’t be in the ECHL very long and is expected to make a comeback to the AHL later. Kea is a type of player that should be expected to do good but not great things.