The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed defenseman Will O’Neill to a one-year, two-way contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
The deal has an average annual value of $575,000 at the NHL level.
O’Neill, 27, was one of the top offensive defensemen in the American Hockey League (AHL) this year, ranking fifth among all league blueliners with 48 points (10G-38A) in 72 games with the St. John’s IceCaps.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound O’Neill teamed with forward Kael Mouillierat, who signed with Pittsburgh yesterday, to help the IceCaps advance to the 2014 Calder Cup Final. During that playoff run, O’Neill led all AHL D-men in assists (13) and points (16) in the postseason. His 13 assists led all AHL skaters regardless of position.
A native of Salem, Massachusetts, O’Neill has compiled 107 points (23G-84) in 206 career AHL regular-season games with St. John’s.
Originally drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the seventh round (210th overall) in the 2006 NHL Draft, O’Neill played four years of college hockey at the University of Maine, where he was team captain his senior year. As a sophomore in ’09-10, O’Neill was named to the Hockey East All-Academic Team.