The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today the signings of free agent defenseman Wes O’Neill and free agent center Wyatt Smith. O'Neill agreed to terms on a three-year contract, while Smith inked a one-year deal.
“These players provide us additional organizational depth,” said Avalanche Assistant General Manager Greg Sherman. “We have the ability now with our affiliates to sign and develop players with our own staff and philosophy.”
O’Neill, 21, played four years at Notre Dame University, where he served as an alternate captain during his senior campaign in 2006-07. He finished second among Irish defensemen in points last season (21). The 6’4”, 200-pound native of Essex, Ontario was originally drafted in 2004 by the New York Islanders (115th overall). O’Neill was selected to play for Team Canada at the Under-18 Select Championships in 2003.
Smith, 30, has appeared in 186 NHL games with the Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes and New York Islanders. A native of Thief River Falls, Minn., the 5’11” 205-pound center played collegiate hockey at the University of Minnesota before he was drafted in 1997 by the Phoenix Coyotes (233rd overall). He appeared in a career-high 61 games with the Minnesota Wild last season.