Patrick McNally is on his way to San Jose.
The former Harvard defenseman has signed a two-year entry level contract with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, following goaltender Steve Michalek and forward Brian Hart as the third Harvard hockey player to ink a professional contract this week.
The Sharks announced Thursday that McNally had agreed to a two-year entry-level contract, five days after the team acquired the rights to sign him in a draft-day trade with the Vancouver Canucks.
“Patrick is a player we have had our eye on for some time now,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said Thursday, according to the team’s website. “He had been a very productive collegiate defenseman and head coach Ted Donato and the Harvard staff have done a tremendous job preparing him to take the next step. We’re excited for him to continue his development with our organization.”
For McNally, who averaged a point per game over an injury-shortened season and helped lead Harvard to its first ECAC championship since 2006 this year, the deal came as a relief. The all-conference tournament defenseman entered the offseason uncertain of where he would play next.
“It feels good,” McNally said of the deal. “It’s a relief after being up in the air for so long [and] not really knowing what was going to happen, so it feels good to have it under my belt and know what I’m doing and have a plan.”
After he withdrew from the College in his sophomore year alongside teammates Michalek and Max Everson in the wake of the Gov 1310 cheating investigation, the NCAA denied the three players’ waivers for additional years of intercollegiate eligibility in early June. Weeks later, Canucks general manager Jim Benning said that the team would not sign the Glen Head, N.Y., native. On the second day of the NHL Entry Draft last weekend, Vancouver dealt McNally’s signing rights to San Jose in exchange for a seventh-round pick.
“The trade came as a bit of a surprise to me, but when it happened I talked to a couple of guys from San Jose, and my agent thought it was a good fit,” said McNally, who is currently taking two summer classes at Harvard and plans to complete his degree in August. “They seemed like they were excited to have me, so it kind of moved quickly after that.”
McNally’s signing capped a busy signing week for the Harvard men’s hockey team.
Michalek signed a two-year entry level deal with the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday while Hart agreed to a three-year, two-way deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday.
Michalek started in every game for Harvard last season and set a single-game tournament saves record in the Beanpot. Hart, meanwhile, ranked sixth among Harvard skaters in goals (7) last season and registered 17 points in 37 games.
"It just seemed like the right timing and everything, with my development,'' Hart told the Syracuse Post Standard on Thursday. "I'm looking forward to a new chapter in my life.''
McNally hopes to attend the Sharks’ prospect development camp next week. He will likely play his first regular season pro games next fall with the Sharks or their American Hockey League affiliate, the newly-branded San Jose Barracuda. Regardless of where he plays, McNally feels prepared to prove himself on a new stage.
“Right now I’m just focusing on getting ready for development camp and doing the best I can there and going in and working hard.” McNally said. “Wherever I am, I just want to play my best…. I’m new to professional hockey, so I’m not going to make any bold statements. We’ll see what happens.”
—Staff writer Michael D. Ledecky can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mdledecky.
—Check TheCrimson.com for updates.