Mercyhurst’s Daniel O’Donoghue turned the best season of his college hockey career into a NHL contract Friday.
The senior forward signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes, and will join the club’s AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates in Portland, Maine, as early as this weekend. The Pirates play in Manchester, N.H., against the Monarchs tonight before returning home to face the Norfolk Admirals on Sunday.
“It’s a great feeling, and I’m very excited,” O’Donoghue said in a statement. “I have a lot of emotions running through me right now – anxious, excited, nervous. … It’s been a long time coming, and I’m excited just to get my foot in the door.”
He set career highs with 15 goals, 28 assists and 43 points in 38 games. He finished his four-year career with 119 points (45 goals, 74 assists). He’s one of 16 players in the school’s NCAA Division I history to reach the 100-point mark, and of five to sign professional contracts. The others are Jody Robinson (New York Islanders), T.J. Kemp (Edmonton Oilers), Jamie Hunt (Washington Capitals) and Cullen Eddy (Philadelphia Flyers). Hunt is the lone player to play in a NHL regular-season game (2006-07).
“Our season ended almost a month ago, and I thought it would go a little quicker than this,” O’Donoghue said. “But it all worked out in the end.”