ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan forward Mike Cammalleri has agreed to terms with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, foregoing his senior year with the Wolverines.
“Michael was generally regarded as the best player in college hockey this past season,” said Kings general manager Dave Taylor. “He is a highly skilled, intelligent player who has excelled at all levels of hockey thus far. He will certainly compete for a spot with the Kings this season as we consider him to be an elite prospect.”
Los Angeles selected Cammalleri with the 49th pick of the second round in the 2000 NHL Draft.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Cammalleri forced the Kings’ hand by threatening to leave Michigan for the major junior Ontario Hockey League. Had he played there one season, the Kings would have lost his rights.
“That increased their leverage, and we increased our offer and got the contract done,” said Dave Taylor to the Times. “We’ve been talking for a while, but it really picked up in the last week.”
Cammalleri, 20, becomes the second First Team All-American underclassman to depart Michigan in two days, coming 24 hours after defenseman Mike Komisarek signed with the Montreal Canadiens.
In a junior year that saw him miss over one-third of his team’s action due to a bout with mononucleosis, the 5-foot-9, 180-pound Cammalleri still ranked second in scoring for the Wolverines with 23 goals and 44 points in 29 games. He led Michigan to the 2002 CCHA Championship and a run to the NCAA semifinals where the Wolverines fell to eventual champion Minnesota, 3-2. His 1.51 points per game would have ranked him third in the nation had he played in the required 75 percent of his team’s games.
Cammalleri also won a silver medal with the Canadian National Junior Team at the 2002 World Junior Championships, leading all players in scoring with seven goals and 11 points and garnering honors as the tournament’s top forward. He was a two-time member of Team Canada.
In 110 career games over three seasons at Michigan, Cammalleri had totals of 65 goals and 131 points along with 84 penalty minutes.