Kings sign Kitsyn, O’Neill
The Kings have signed 21-year-old left wing Maxim Kitsyn to a three-year entry level contract and 25-year-old right wing Brian O’Neill to a one-year contract.
His biggest breakthrough came in the 2010-11 season when he won a gold medal with Russia at the World Junior Championships and appeared in the Memorial Cup with the host Mississauga-St. Michaels Majors. He was drafted by Los Angeles in the sixth round, 158th overall, in 2010.
At the 2011 WJC, Kitsyn ranked sixth in tournament scoring with nine points (4-5=9), trailing Brayden Schenn, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan Ellis and Richard Pánik. Here he is finishing off a beautiful Kuznetsov toe-drag to tie the quarterfinal elimination game against Finland with 1:38 to play:
And here he is finding Kuznetsov for the game-winner in overtime:
Russia erased a 3-0 deficit entering the third period against Canada in the gold medal game by scoring five times; Kitsyn scored the goal that brought the Russians within one.
The 5-foot-9 O’Neill recorded 15 points (3-12=15) over 49 games with Manchester in his first full professional season – though “full” isn’t quite accurate, as he didn’t play between February 17 and March 15 due to injury and also missed time in December.
In March, 2012 O’Neill was signed out of Yale University, where he served as the Bulldogs’ team captain and was named the Ivy League Player of the Year during a 46-point season (21-25=46) in 2011-12.
Both players should be candidates to play for the 2012-13 Manchester Monarchs.