First, let's get the informative stuff out there before we provide any opinions...
Rieder is a smallish skilled forward who put up some very strong numbers in his first post-draft season. After a slow start this year, he came on strong in the second half and had a solid season again. He certainly faced an up hill battle to crack the Oilers' line-up in the near future with all of the young firepower in front of him, but we have him as the 2nd highest rated forward prospect in the system among players who have not yet played an NHL game. The key to Rieder's success will be transferring his offense to the pro game next season.
Kale Kessy is a low-skill face puncher. That may deflate the spirits of some of our readers. And it should. He is playing in his fourth WHL season, his first with the Kamloops Blazers and is well below a point per game. Basically, he has no discernible offense that has a hope of translating to the NHL. He is considered an aggressive player. An "energy guy" who likes to hit and fight. Basically, think Mike Brown or Ben Eager before the concussion problems.
Kessy is listed at 6'3" 202 lbs. He was drafted in the 4th round of the 2011 draft, as was Reider.
To say this trade is underwhelming would be a understatement. Rieder was one of the lone bright spots in among forward prospects outside of the NHL for a team who has seen all of its top prospects go straight to the Oilers over the last few years. Seeing him moved for yet another player in the Travis Ewanyk, Mitch Moroz, Cam Abney group is baffling.
Both players must be signed by June 1st or re-enter the draft, so the reasonable explanation that would justify this move is if the Oil didn't think they would be able to sign Rieder and wanted to convert him into an asset they could get under contract. Knowing what I do of Rieder and his relationship with the Oilers there is nothing to give me that impression, so unless something comes out about that in the next couple of days this appears to just be another absurd error in judgment by Steve Tambellini.
For some added perspective on this, I'll end this with a series of comments from Prospect Guru Corey Pronman from twitter upon news of the trade breaking:
The now #Coyotes Rieder took a step back this season, but he has skill and PKing ability, there's some upside to this trade for PHX.— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) March 29, 2013
Rieder was my #10 prospect in the EDM system last summer here is his hockeyprospectus.com/article.php?ar…— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) March 29, 2013
Kessy, like Rieder are both unsigned prospects. Kessy has good size, tough as heck, decent skater, no offense. 4L potential.— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) March 29, 2013
Kessy probably has a better chance to be a NHLer, but if Rieder makes it (a notable if) his potential is a few notches higher.— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) March 29, 2013
Thing with Rieder is if his offense doesn't translate even for a small guy, he has defensive value. All about making his physical game work.— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) March 29, 2013