Providence’s Kelly To Sign With Toronto

Providence defenseman Regan Kelly has agreed to terms on a professional contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, USCHO has learned. An official announcement is expected shortly.

Kelly, 21, would have been the top returning blueliner for the Friars as a junior. He will forego his final two seasons of collegiate eligibility to join the Maple Leafs, who obtained his rights from Philadelphia via trade in September 2000. The Flyers chose him in the eighth round of the 2000 NHL Draft, 259th overall.

In 2000-01, Kelly had four goals and 25 points in 36 games and was a runner-up for Hockey East Rookie of the Year to Chuck Kobasew of Boston College. He was named to the league’s All-Rookie Team that year as Providence posted its highest ever finish in the league standings and earned a bid to the NCAA tournament.

Last year, as the Friars recorded a disappointing seventh-place finish after being ranked atop the preseason Hockey East coaches’ poll, Kelly’s production dipped to 16 points overall, although he scored six goals to improve on his rookie total.

The 6-foot-2-inch, 195-pound Kelly, a native of Imperial, Sask., finishes his college career with 10 goals and 31 assists for 41 points in 74 games, and 106 penalty minutes.

Terms of the contract have not been disclosed.