Jeff O'Neill

Last updated

Jeff O'Neill
Born (1976-02-23) February 23, 1976 (age 44)
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shot Right
Played for Hartford Whalers
Carolina Hurricanes
Toronto Maple Leafs
NHL Draft 5th overall, 1994
Hartford Whalers
Playing career 19952007

Jeffrey O'Neill (born February 23, 1976) is a Canadian broadcaster and former professional ice hockey player in the National Hockey League (NHL). He played 12 seasons with the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and the Toronto Maple Leafs. [1]

Contents

Playing career

Minor hockey

O'Neill grew up in the community of King City, north of Toronto, playing minor hockey for the King City Kings MHA as a youth. He grew up with two older brothers, Don and Ryan, both of whom played hockey.[ citation needed ] O'Neill played in the 1990 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament with the Richmond Hill-Vaughan Kings minor ice hockey team from the Ontario Minor Hockey Association. [2] As a 14-year-old, he played at the Midget level with his brother Ryan — almost three years younger than some of his peers.[ citation needed ] At 15, O'Neill signed with the Thornhill Thunderbirds Jr. A club (OHA), whose coach Scott McLennan stated he had the skills to make it to the Ontario Hockey League. [3] O’Neill’s number was later retired by the Thunderbirds in 2004. He finished his rookie season second in the Metro Junior Hockey League in scoring.[ citation needed ]

O'Neill was the first overall selection of the Guelph Storm in the 1992 OHL Priority Selection, held at Maple Leaf Gardens in June 1992. He was named OHL Rookie of the Year that year after scoring 79 points in 65 games with the upstart Storm.[ citation needed ] His point total of 79 for a 16-year-old was the second highest total by a 16-year-old since Kirk Muller recorded 112 with the Guelph Platers in 1982–83.[ citation needed ] He also played in the American Hockey League for the Springfield Falcons. O'Neill spent three years in the OHL with the Storm before jumping to the NHL with the Hartford Whalers in 1995. Also in 1995 he represented Canada at the world junior hockey championships winning a gold medal.[ citation needed ]

NHL

O'Neill was drafted in the first round, fifth overall by the Hartford Whalers (now Carolina Hurricanes) in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. He went to the 2002 Stanley Cup Final with the Hurricanes before losing to the Detroit Red Wings. O'Neill was selected to the Eastern Conference team for the 2002–03 NHL All-Star Game.[ citation needed ]

After joining the Whalers in 1995, he spent the next two seasons in Hartford before following the franchise to North Carolina in 1997. His point production increased after he arrived in Carolina, scoring at least 30 goals per season each year between 2000 and 2003. After his brother was killed in a car accident in Toronto in July 2005, O'Neill expressed a desire to play for the Maple Leafs, his hometown team, in order to be closer to family. [4] On July 30, 2005, Carolina GM Jim Rutherford traded O'Neill to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a conditional draft pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Re-united with former Carolina Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice, O'Neill enjoyed a resurgence early in the 2006-07 season and, benefiting from playing on the top line with Mats Sundin and Alexander Steen, was briefly one of the top scorers. However, despite scoring 20 goals that season, O'Neill was benched for the remaining few games due to poor offensive performance. His poor performance combined with his fear of flying led him to consider retirement at the end of the season. [5] After sitting out the following season, he was invited to the 2008-09 Training Camp by his former team, the Carolina Hurricanes. Following Training Camp, O'Neill played in two exhibition games with the Hurricanes, but opted to retire before the official start of the season. [6]

Broadcasting career

O'Neill is presently a sports broadcaster and hockey analyst with The Sports Network appearing on Toronto Maple Leafs broadcasts and TSN Hockey programs. [1] He currently co-hosts OverDrive on TSN Radio 1050 with host Bryan Hayes and fellow co-host and former goaltender Jamie McLennan. [7]

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

   Regular season   Playoffs
Season TeamLeagueGP G A Pts PIM GPGAPtsPIM
1991–92 Thornhill Thunderbirds MetJHL 4327538048
1992–93 Guelph Storm OHL 653247798852246
1993–94 Guelph StormOHL6645811269592111331
1994–95 Guelph StormOHL57438112456148182634
1995–96 Hartford Whalers NHL 658192740
1996–97 Springfield Falcons AHL 10000
1996–97 Hartford WhalersNHL7214163040
1997–98 Carolina Hurricanes NHL7419203967
1998–99 Carolina HurricanesNHL751615316660110
1999–2000 Carolina HurricanesNHL8025386372
2000–01 Carolina HurricanesNHL82412667106612310
2001–02 Carolina HurricanesNHL763133646322851327
2002–03 Carolina HurricanesNHL8230316138
2003–04 Carolina HurricanesNHL6714203460
2005–06 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL7419193864
2006–07 Toronto Maple LeafsNHL7420224254
NHL totals82123725949667034981737

International

YearTeamEvent GPGAPtsPIM
1995 Canada WJC 72462

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References

  1. 1 2 "Talent: Jeff O'Neill". TSN . Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  2. "Pee-Wee players who have reached NHL or WHA" (PDF). Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament. 2018. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  3. Laskaris, Sam (October 17, 1991). "15-year-old draws raves from Lindros' old coach". Toronto Star . Retrieved October 3, 2014.
  4. Buffery, Steve. "NHLer turned broadcaster Jeff O'Neill tells it like it is when it comes to the Toronto Maple Leafs". Toronto Sun. Retrieved November 6, 2020.
  5. "O'Neill may hang 'em up". Sportsnet. April 11, 2006. Archived from the original on October 10, 2007.
  6. Yaneff, Jon (January 7, 2009). "O'Neill's hockey career settles down, as the former NHLer starts new life". King Township Sentinel. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
  7. "OverDrive with Hayes, Noodles and The O-Dog". TSN . Retrieved March 5, 2020.
Preceded by
Chris Pronger
Hartford Whalers first round draft pick
1994
Succeeded by
Jean-Sébastien Giguère