LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings have signed free agent forward/defenseman Patrick Mullen
to a two-year entry-level contract, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced Friday.
"It is obviously a great feeling to have the opportunity to maybe someday play in the NHL," Mullen said. "I was talking to a couple of scouts all year and I knew that they had the idea in mind of signing me, so I was happy that it happened."
Mullen, 22, recently concluded his senior season at Denver University and recorded 25 points (4-21=25) and 39 penalty minutes in 38 games as a defenseman. His 21 assists were tied for fourth on the team while his 22 points set a collegiate career high. The 5-11, 190-pounder from Pittsburgh helped the Pioneers to a 23-12-5 record and a berth in the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament (DU was eliminated from tournament play last weekend).
"Mullen is a highly skilled player," Vice President/Assistant General Manager Ron Hextall said. "He makes a lot of plays and he can make some special plays. He has only been a defenseman for about a year and a half, so he has got some work to do defensively in terms of defending and positioning himself in the defensive zone. But offensively he is very good, so we are excited about his potential."
Mullen added. "I have been a forward all of my life, until about the last four games of my sophomore year in college. I think we had some injuries on defense, and our coach thought that I was a good enough skater to get back there and move the puck. So, he put me back there to try it out for a couple of games and then the next two seasons I was pretty much full time back there.
"I am going to pursue being a defenseman and work with Mike O’Connell, in player development for the Kings. He is kind of like me, a right-handed shot, an offensive-defenseman on the smaller side. That was the best fit for me as far as getting the chance to develop with him."
In four seasons with the Pioneers, Mullen recorded 81 points (20-61=81) and 148 penalty minutes in 152 games, splitting time as a forward and defenseman. In 2007-08, he led DU defensemen with 22 points (4-18=22), which was tied for sixth among WCHA blue-liners. His 18 assists were tops overall on the Pioneers. In 2006-07, Mullen was named to the All-WCHA Academic Team.
Mullen skated with the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) during the 2004-05 season, posting 37 points (14-23=37), eight penalty minutes and a plus-11 rating in 60 games.
Mullen’s father, Joe, ("Slippery Rock Joe Mullen") played in the NHL for 16 seasons with four different teams. The first American-born hockey player to score 500 goals and register 1,000 points, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000.
“I grew up around hockey, because he played and my brothers played, so that was just automatically what I did. He never put any pressure on me to play, but I decided to anyway.”
Joe has been an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers since June 6, 2007.