Last week, the Oklahoma City Barons announced the signing of goaltender David LeNeveu, seemingly rounding out their net-minding duo for the 2011-2012 season.
LeNeveu, 28 from Fernie, British Columbia, is most remembered for his time in the collegiate ranks with Cornell University.
He experienced a stellar collegiate career, posting a 39-5-2 record, 1.29 goals against average and 11 shutouts. His final season as a pro got him noticed by pro scouts. His 28-3-1 record and school-record nine shutouts earned him a 2nd round selection (46th overall) by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. In addition to being drafted, he was also a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the nation’s top collegiate hockey player.
“Well obviously, stats are just one portion of the game,” LeNeveu said. “To have great stats in a year you need a great defense and a great team in front of you. At the collegiate level in those particular years… I myself, personally, was surrounded by a lot of great hockey players.”
David LeNeveu was drafted in the second round, 46th overall, by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2002. (Photo by Getty Images).
While stats are not something LeNeveu personally takes from his time at Cornell, his winning attitude is.
“Everybody wants winners, everybody wants to win. But it’s not the easiest thing to do. That (winning) environment was introduced to us by our coaching staff at Cornell.”
LeNeveu describes himself as your “typical modern day goaltender” with a butterfly style. But when it comes to playing the game, he feels he has no technique limitations.
“My job is to stop the puck. It doesn’t matter how I stop it as long as I keep it out of the net.” LeNeveu said with a laugh.
The Barons’ newest face feels he brings a lot to his new team, from experience to work ethic.
“As an individual and a player, obviously this will be my ninth year in the league,” he said. “So I do have a lot of experience. I know what it takes to play at a NHL level. I know what the young guys will need to do day-in and day-out. I pride myself on being a very hard worker and being one of the first guys there and one of the last guys out of the dressing room everyday.”
A leader like LeNeveu is welcomed in an OKC locker room that has made a large push towards a youth movement. LeNeveu will join players like veteran defenseman Bryan Helmer, in teaching the roster’s youth how to be a professional on and off the ice. The winning culture was introduced last season, it is players like LeNeveu who need to stoke the fire and keep the flame alive.
“I know what it’s like to make the playoffs at the pro level. I know what it’s like to win everything at the pro level.”
LeNeveu is speaking to his time with Salzburg in the Austrian League where he won the Austrian League Championship in 2010.
LeNeveu has seen time with several teams over the course of his career, but he is ready for the next chapter and is very excited to hit the ice skating in Oklahoma City, where he figures to pair with Yann Danis
as the Barons’ last line of defense.
“I’m very excited obviously. A team that makes the playoffs in their first year, and has so many young players is a great sign. Hopefully everybody is hungry to do it again and go even further.” Author: Chris Wescott | OKC Barons