Saturday, March 1, 2008

Another NCAA player turning pro midseason makes this a trend

A trend I've been following here on the blog is NCAA players jumping to the pros midseason. The latest NCAA player to turn pro this year was an unlikely one, Les Reaney of Niagara University. Here's a article on it.

As if it wasn't enough that Kyle Okposo and Brock Trotter made unprecedented mid-season moves from college teams to NHL contracts, a player from Niagara of all places added to that list.

Last week, Les Reaney, the CHA Freshman of the Year two seasons ago, up and left to sign a pro deal with the [Springfield Falcons].

In Okposo's case, he was courted, controversially, by the team that once drafted him highly in the first round, the New York Islanders. In Trotter's case, he was actually dismissed from the university, forcing his hand.

But Les Reaney? After being a healthy scratch in two games leading up to his departure, he just decided to shop himself around and leave.

The article above, and many others, say he signed with Edmonton, but that's not really the case. He was signed by Edmonton's AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons. Edmonton loves to use the language that they sign guys to minor league deals, but that's not a transaction NHL teams can make. Reaney's not really good enough to get an NHL deal anyway. (Reaney has not yet played any pro games. One source said he was assigned to Stockton last week, but he's not on that roster as of now. A situation to watch.)

Kevin Quick was the third player to sign mid-season, having been kicked out of Michigan for committing fraud and identity theft, on a teammate no less. A Tampa pick, he was signed to a Norfolk contract. He's played just three games.

So, we have two players who were kicked out signing pro, and two players who left in good standing. It's nearly the end of the college hockey season, so that will probably be the end of it for this year, but again keep an eye on this trend and the NCAA's relationship with the NHL.

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