[EDIT: The Kings announced the signing this morning. It is a two-year deal. Welcome aboard, Alex!]
It appears that the new leadership of the Los Angeles Kings have made their first official free agent signing. According to The Buffalo News, LA has signed Alex Iafallo, a graduating senior from the University of Minnesota Duluth, to a contract. We’ll update once this has been confirmed; it sounds like pen has not been put to paper yet, but the signing should hopefully be official pretty soon.
I’m told Eden native and UMD All-American Alex Iafallo will soon sign with the LA Kings.— Tom Martin (@4TomMartin) April 17, 2017
False start on the Iafallo signing, but stay tuned.— Matt Wellens (@mattwellens) April 17, 2017
Iafallo is a 23-year-old center who had a breakout season for the Bulldogs; after notching eight goals and 23 points in his junior season, Iafallo exploded for 21 goals and 51 points for UMD as the Bulldogs made a run to the NCAA national title game. Iafallo scored the game-winner in the national semifinal with 26 seconds to go.
Iafallo attended Tampa Bay’s development camp last summer, but he’s never gotten much hype. He was the 143rd-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting entering the 2013 NHL Draft; for the sake of comparison, that was three spots ahead of LA sixth-rounder Zac Leslie and four spots behind LA seventh-rounder Dominik Kubalik. Iafallo didn’t even make SBN College Hockey’s list of the top 100 NHL prospects in the NCAA, which was created at the start of March. Even for a sleeper prospect, though, 51 points and a nice postseason run will get you noticed.
UMD’s Alex Iafallo was talking to several NHL teams last week. A decision likely comes this week.— Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonCHN) April 17, 2017
Iafallo was on NHL’s list of the best available college free agents, and we’ll see if LA did indeed win the race for his signature. I believe this would be LA’s first signing of an NCAA free agent since the Kings landed Yale’s Brian O’Neill in 2012. O’Neill went on to win an AHL MVP award and a Calder Cup for the Manchester Monarchs before being traded to the New Jersey Devils. Iafallo will have a similar chance to prove himself in the AHL next year, and if this news is accurate, it’ll be with the Ontario Reign.