Jeff Tambellini will give up his senior season at Michigan to sign a professional contract with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.
“It’s a sad part of the game when money takes over and diverts top players before they can finish school,” said coach Red Berenson. “It has been Jeff Tambellini’s dream to play at the top level and hopefully he can attain that. I wish he would have stayed for his senior season and had a great final year to finish his career. Jeff is a classy kid, a good student and a great player.”
Tambellini is the second Wolverine in the last three weeks to give up his senior season for the NHL. Goalie Al Montoya signed with the New York Rangers on July 27th. Both would-be seniors had been tabbed as captains for the 2005-06 season.
Tambellini was the third of three Kings’ first round picks in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, selected 27th overall.
As a junior, Tambellini had a career year by setting single-season bests in points (57), assists (33), power-play goals (9) and plus/minus (+30). His 57 points tied him for third-best in the nation. As Michigan’s top point-getter he also led the team in goals (24), assists, game-winning goals (5), plus/minus, shots (207) and multi-point games (19). His 21 points on the power play were tied for first on U-M. For his efforts, he earned numerous honors including: West All-America second team, All-Midwest Regional team, All-CCHA first team, CCHA Tournament MVP and All-Tournament team.
In his sophomore year he tallied just 27 points on 15 goals and 12 assists after Tambellini burst onto the scene as a freshman by scoring a team-best 26 goals, which tied him for fourth on Michigan’s all-time freshman goal list. Matched with 19 assists he accumulated 45 points in his first year to lead the Maize and Blue. Also, he had six power-play scores and six game winners. He garnered the CCHA’s Rookie of the Year award and also earned a spot on the All-CCHA second team.
In the classroom, Tambellini was also extremely accomplished. He was Academic All-Big Ten Conference in 2004 and ’05. In 2004 he earned CCHA All-Academic special mention and in 2005 he took home the CCHA’s Scholar Athlete award for U-M. Also he was a U-M Athletic Academic Achievement award honoree in 2004 and 2005.
During the middle of his sophomore year Tambellini left the Wolverines to play for Team Canada’s 2004 World Junior team. He tallied two goals and three assists as the Canadians earned the silver medal.
Over three seasons, Tambellini compiled a career line of 65-64-129 in 124 games. He tallied 20 power-play goals to go along with 14 game winners and had a plus/minus rating of +45. He helped U-M reach the NCAA Frozen Four in 2003 and NCAA Regional finals in 2004 and 2005. The Wolverines won CCHA regular-season titles in 2003-04 and 2004-05 and CCHA tournament championships in 2002-03 and 2004-05.