Kings Lose Two Calder Cup Champs Before Regular Season

In a series of transactional events before the start of the regular season, the Kings lost two players to other teams due to contractual situations and the waiver wire earlier this week. The Kings traded forward Brian O’Neill to the New Jersey Devils for a seventh-round draft pick and goalie J.F. Berube was claimed off waivers by the New York Islanders.

Brian O’Neill

O’Neill was an undrafted free agent signing by the Kings in 2012 after O’Neill completed his final year in the NCAA with Yale University. O’Neill earned himself a two-year contract extension with the Kings in May 2014.

Due to his contractual status, O’Neill would have had to clear waivers in order for the Kings to reassign him to the Monarchs. General manager Dean Lombardi cut his losses and traded O’Neill to the New Jersey Devils for a conditional seventh-round pick according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

In the 192 games O’Neill played with the Monarchs, he totaled 52 goals and 144 points with his most productive year being 2014-15 scoring 22 goals and 80 points. O’Neill’s AHL season was so strong last year he won the Les Cunningham Award (AHL’s most valuable player).

O’Neill played a big part in the Monarchs winning the Calder Cup last season playing in all 19 playoff games for the team scoring 20 points. O’Neill was even injured in game three of the Calder Cup Finals sustaining a separated shoulder and would return to the Finals in game four helping the Monarchs win the team’s first Calder Cup.

Jean-Francois Berube

Like O’Neill, Berube would have had to clear waivers before being moved back down to the AHL. Unlike the trade with New Jersey that brought back a seventh-round draft pick for the Kings, Berube was indeed claimed off waivers by the New York Islanders yesterday according to LA Kings’ Insider Jon Rosen.

Berube had a terrific season for the Monarchs last season appearing in 52 games and posting a 0.913 save percentage and 2.18 goals against average. The 24-year-old was drafted in 2009 by the Kings in the fourth round and had split time playing in the ECHL with the (former) Ontario Reign and the AHL before establishing himself as the starter last season.

Berube played 17 games in the playoffs last season for the Monarchs before being injured in game three of the Calder Cup Finals. Patrik Bartosak relieved Berube in the final two games of the series before the Monarchs beat the Utica Comets in five games to win the Calder Cup.