RALEIGH, NC – Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team acquired a conditional draft pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft from Toronto in exchange for forward Jeff O’Neill.
“There’s never a good time to say goodbye to somebody,” said Rutherford. “Jeff was the first transaction I made as a general manager, and as our first pick in Hartford. He’s been a real good player for us.”
The Hurricanes will receive a draft pick in the 2006 draft based on O’Neill’s performance in 2005-06.
O’Neill joined the Hurricanes’ organization when the then Hartford Whalers selected the then Guelph Storm standout with the fifth overall pick in the 1994 draft. In nine NHL seasons with the Carolina organization, O’Neill scored 198 goals, earned 218 assists (416 points) and accumulated 552 penalty minutes in 673 games. He leaves the organization ranked third in career points, fourth in goals, assists and games played, and sixth in power-play goals (67). He led Carolina in goals for four straight seasons, scoring 25 in 1999-2000, 41 in 2000-01, 31 in 2001-02 and 30 in 2002-03.
Along with trading O’Neill to the Maple Leafs, the Hurricanes also acquired defenseman Derrick Walser and a fourth-round pick in 2006 from Columbus in exchange for Toronto’s fourth-round pick (101st overall) in this year’s draft. Carolina acquired Toronto’s fourth-round pick in the deal that sent Ron Francis to the Maple Leafs on March 9, 2004.
In 2004-05, Walser played in 50 games with the Berlin Polar Bears of the Deutsche Elite League, scoring nine goals and posting 14 assists. He split the 2003-04 season between Columbus and its American Hockey League affiliate, Syracuse. In 27 games with Columbus in 2003-04, Walser scored one goal and earned eight assists (9 points) while he posted 10 goals and 26 assists (36 points) with Syracuse.