L.A. Kings Sign Brian O’Neill…Who?

From the New Haven Register blog:

Yale senior Brian O’Neill has signed a one-year NHL contract with the Los Angeles Kings. He will report to the team’s American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H. for practice today, and fly to St. John’s (Newfoundland) for his pro debut this weekend.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a source close to the situation said O’Neill received the maximum signing bonus for rookies allowed under the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement. The contract is a two-way deal and O’Neill will also get the maximum allowable AHL salary, which is guaranteed.

Several teams showed interest, but O’Neill felt the Kings were the best fit. The team offered him a similar deal last summer. O’Neill turned it down and returned to Yale for his senior season, where he led the team in scoring for a third successive season.

The Kings are expected to announce the signing later today.

Here is a nice Register article (not the blog) from a couple of days ago on O’Neill:

O’Neill, a forward from Yardley, Pa., completed one of the most successful four-year runs in school history with 163 career points, second only to Jeff Hamilton’s 173, and served as the backbone of three NCAA tournament teams.

“As the total package, I can make the argument that he’s the greatest player in Yale history,” Allain said. “In terms of what his teams produced, leading the team in scoring three years in a row — and he’s so much more than just a scorer. I could go on and on about the contributions he’s made to our hockey program.”

That’s high praise considering the talent that’s come through Yale in 117 years of hockey at the school.

And

O’Neill, the Ivy League Player of the Year, is expected to be a finalist for ECAC player of the year. His 21 goals and 25 assists also make him a candidate for All-American and Hobey Baker finalist consideration.

And

Harvard coach Ted Donato, who spent 13 years as a forward in the NHL, mostly with the Boston Bruins, said he considers O’Neill an All-American-caliber player who deserves a chance to play in the NHL.

“Brian is one of the best players I’ve seen in our league over my eight years coaching,” Donato said. “He’s an all-around player who can hurt you scoring goals, setting up plays and he plays with a compete level and an edge that as a coach you dream your best players are that complete. Every time he’s on the ice, he’s a factor.”

He is listed as 5’8″, 165 pounds.

Here he is. The girls will like him:

And now for the obligatory…The Cup Is Ours!



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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16 replies

  1. Stats sound good but he looks smaller than RNH and that kid has had a shit ton of injuries getting tossed around like Rhianna this year.

    • RNH is still a boy, so I think the comparison should probably end there. I’d guess there was some type of strength program at Yale.

      • This kid could deadlift Buick’s, he’s still twenty pounds lighter than Loktionov and in the modern NHL with big defensemen who can move (Matt Greene is excused from this example) that is fucking tiny. I love routing for the little guys and obviously this kid has gotta have some hands on him but there’s a reason we dont see a lot of Theo Fluery’s anymore.

        • I’m not sure what RNH has to do with this, which was my point. He’s 6’1″. He’s only 18 and hasn’t spent enough time getting strong which probably has at least something to do with getting hurt by softly bumping into the boards.

          My only point was that he’s probably already spent a few years getting stronger, so injuries probably aren’t going to be the reason he doesn’t make it. Most small guys don’t make it not because they get hurt but because all else being equal size is an advantage and there are plenty of larger guys just as skilled as a lot of small guys.

          And I only had to browse through a few rosters to find a decent list of small guys. Buffalo has 3.

          • Height isnt the issue its being 22 and a 165 pounds. On that small of a frame its not like he’s going to pack on more sizw without going into Pancakes territory. I brought up RNH because he was a similar weight and the worry when he was drafted was his size and those players are prone to shoulder seperations. Age isnt going to help when a 200 pound defensemen is leaning into him on the halfboards which is one of the reasons Loktionov never came around quite like everyone expected. I understand your points but in the current climate I just feel like 165 isnt going to win a lot of battles.

            I hope to be proven dead wrong but I just wish they looked at a scorer with more size.

          • At 5’8″ 165 lbs he has plenty of room to gain weight imo.

            But the topic has kinda drifted into something which I don’t disagree with enough anymore.

            I don’t think injuries is the issue with a smaller, older player who has probably spent some time getting stronger. It’s that there are taller players just as skilled who have an advantage, so they ain’t gonna make it as often.

  2. I like the signing a lot!! I watched this kid play last year for Yale, who was the number 1 ranked team in the country for most of the year, and O’Neil was by far the guy most noticed on the ice everytime his team took the ice! The guy game play them game and reminds me a lot of a Brian Gionta, he’s got speed, skill and toughness, and oh yea, a knack for scoring goals!

    I’m excited to see how he does at Manchester and next year with Penner gone he can fill that void Trevor Lewis has failed to, secondary scoring.

  3. There are 5 players 5’8″ or shorter that have played at least 35 games this year. The most notable are:

    Martin St Louis – 22 goals, 63 points, even, 5’8″
    David Desharnais – 15 goals, 54 points, +10, 5’7″
    Nathan Gerbe – 6 goals, 24 points, +3, 5’5″ shortest in the NHL (likely in more than one way)

    Also, Brian Gionta is hurt so he’s only played 31 games but he is 5’7″.

  4. … Maybe Lombardi wants to atone for giving up on Michael Cammalleri.

  5. I’ve had bigger dumps

  6. Famous motto:

    Judge a man not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his hockey character….

    Little guys have a right to make millions in hockey too, don’t they????

  7. Litte guys on the ice can rock and are speedy dudes too…

  8. Actually, this little guy if he is like Theo Fluery, then, lets see what he can do for the Kings.

    Fluery: Born June 29, 1968 (age 43)
    Oxbow, SK, CAN
    Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
    Weight 180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)
    Position Right wing
    Shot Right
    Played for Calgary Flames
    Tappara
    Colorado Avalanche
    New York Rangers
    Chicago Blackhawks
    Belfast Giants
    National team Canada
    NHL Draft 166th overall, 1987
    Calgary Flames
    Playing career 1988–2006

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