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.
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.
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!