After deep Memorial Cup run, Ebert gets deal with Kings

By Jared Clinton (@JPDClinton)

The Los Angeles Kings announced they’ve signed 2012 seventh-round pick Nick Ebert to a three-year entry level contract.

Ebert, 20, spent last season split between the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires and Guelph Storm. With the Spitfires, where Ebert played most of his junior hockey, Ebert was a steady contributor, but he made his impact felt as a member of the Memorial Cup finalist Storm.

In 2010-11, Ebert was named to the OHL’s First All-Rookie Team, and got the nod to play in the Top Prospects Game in 2011-12.

In 38 games with the Storm in 2013-14, Ebert registered nine goals and 24 assists, and had a tremendous playoff, notching 16 points in 20 games. During the Memorial Cup tournament, Ebert added another five assists in four outings.

At 6’0″, 200-plus pounds, Ebert’s size and mobility make him a valuable asset, and he could turn into a late-round steal for the Kings down the line.

With four ECHL games with the Ontario Reign under his belt, Ebert has already seen the professional game, but it will be a while before he makes the jump the NHL. Expectations for Ebert are that he’ll line up with the Manchester Monarchs in 2014-15.


Devils ink pair of prospects

By Jared Clinton (@JPDClinton)

The New Jersey Devils have announced the signing of two prospects from the Ontario Hockey League.

Both forwards, Ben Johnson and Ben Thomson — no, really, those are their names — spent time in the OHL with the Windsor Spitfires and North Bay Battalion, respectively. Both set career highs in the OHL this season; Johnson with 53 points in 59 games (28-25), Thomson with 45 points in 55 games (27-18).

Johnson, a Michigan native, suited up for five games with the Albany Devils on an amateur tryout, registering an assist in that span.

From the release:

Johnson, who turns 20 next month, finished tied for third on Windsor (OHL) this past season with 53 points, including 28 goals and 25 assists, in 59 games played. The 6-0, 190-lb. forward led the Spitfires with four goals/six points during the 2014 OHL playoffs, then joined Albany (AHL) upon completion of his junior season. Johnson’s three-season junior totals showed 66 goals and 62 assists for 128 points in 191 games.

Born June 7, 1994 in Hancock, MI, he spent part of the 2010-11 season with the United States Development Program and Fargo in the USHL. Johnson was New Jersey’s third choice, and 90th overall selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Thomson, 21, split the 2013-14 OHL season between Kitchener (12 games) and North Bay (43). The 6-3, 215-lb. forward totaled 27 goals and 18 assists for 45 points and 90 penalty minutes in the regular-season and added five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 22 playoff appearances en-route to the OHL Finals. Born January 16, 1993 in Brampton, Ont., his five season OHL totals showed 65 goals and 84 assists for 149 points and 483 penalty minutes in 303 games. Thomson was New Jersey’s fourth choice, and 96th overall selection in the 2012 draft.

Monarchs add Niederberger in goal

Mathias Niederberger — yes, that is his real name — has signed a one-year deal with the Manchester Monarchs.

Niederberger, 20, has spent the last two seasons with the OHL’s Barrie Colts, appearing in 140 games. Last season, in 56 regular games, Niederberger posted a 2.34 GAA and .933 SV%. In addition, the German netminder appeared in 22 playoff games for the Colts last season, and had a 2.60 GAA and .928 SV%.

A first round draft pick of the Barrie Colts in the OHL import draft, Niederberger was passed over in the draft, and will make his professional debut with the Monarchs.

Cull joins Crunch coaching staff

It’s been a busy day for the Crunch.

Trent Cull, formerly the head coach of the OHL’s Subury Wolves, has left his post to join the Syracuse Crunch.

Cull, a 39-year-old native of Georgetown, Ont., will join the Crunch as an assistant coach for the 2013-14 season. As the head coach of the Subury Wolves, he lead the team to three straight playoff appearances, and an overall record of 94-88-11-11. Though the Wolves never advanced beyond the second round of the OHL playoffs, Cull brought them out of the basement of their division. Before Cull took the reigns in 2010-11, the Wolves finished in 5th place in their division in three consecutive seasons.

Last night, Syracuse Hockey’s Twitter account (@syrhockey) reported that Cull had resigned from his job with the Wolves with a year remaining on his contract.

Cull, a former AHL defenceman, spent ten years in the league before hanging up the skates in 2003-04 as a member of the Crunch. Immediately following his retirement, Cull took an assistant coach position with the OHL’s Guelph Storm.

After two years behind the bench in Guelph, Cull was given the call to come join his former squad behind the bench, and in 2006-07 Cull joined the team as an assistant, a role he will reprise in the 2013-14 campaign.

UPDATE: Cull spoke with’s Lindsay Kramer:

“Some people might view this as a sidestep. I don’t,” Cull said Wednesday night. “This is the next step in my career. I think this is the right thing for me right now. I’m going to learn from great people. This is one of the best opportunities that has come my way in a long time. I’m really excited to be part of the Tampa Bay organization.”


Spott named Marlies bench boss

Steve Spott is making the jump from the juniors to the AHL.

Spott, 45, has spent the last ten seasons behind the bench of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers, but will be leaving to fill the hole left by Dallas Eakins. Eakins, long said to be an NHL coach in waiting, left the Marlies earlier this off-season to fill the  head coaching position for the Edmonton Oilers.

The news was confirmed earlier today by TSN’s Darren Dreger, and Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported that Spott had previously met with Maple Leafs brass in New Jersey during the draft weekend.

Spott steps down from his post as both head coach and general manager of the Kitchener Rangers, where he lead the team to a two conference finals appearances, and won one OHL Championship as an assistant coach. Spott also coached Team Canada in the 2013 IIHF World U20 Championship, where his Canadian squad was undefeated in the round robin before losing the bronze medal game to Russia.