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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Kennedy the third to bolt Spartans

Compiled by MiCHO Staff

Michigan State junior Tim Kennedy has opted to forego his final season of collegiate eligibility and sign a professional contract with his hometown Buffalo Sabres.

Buffalo general manager Darcy Regier made the announcement of Kennedy’s signing on Sunday.

“We certainly wish Tim Kennedy the best and thank him for what he has contributed to the program,” noted MSU head coach Rick Comley. “He has been such an important part of our success over the last three seasons, and helped bring a national championship to Michigan State . The reality is that players of Tim’s caliber rarely spend four years in school, and while we would have loved to have him back in Green and White, we are confident that he will have a very good professional career.”

“I’ve loved everything about Michigan State and its hockey program – it has been the best three years of my life,” said Kennedy. “I will miss everything about it, but I thought it was in my best interest to start my pro career at this time. I’d like to thank the coaching staff for recruiting me and bringing me to Michigan State and allowing me to be s Spartan.”

Kennedy appeared in 113 games for the Spartans, scoring 42 goals and 63 assists for 105 points. He led the Spartans in scoring in each of his last two seasons and missed 16 games with a hand injury early in his freshman season. This past season, he tied his career best with 43 points (20g, 23a) in 42 games. He led the team in all offensive categories, while scoring nine power-play goals and added five game winners. For his efforts, Kennedy was named a Second-Team All-CCHA selection. He served as an alternate captain in his junior season and would have again in 2008-09 had he returned to school.

In the Spartans 2006-07 NCAA championship season, the 22-year-old Kennedy was named to the All-Tournament Team at both the Midwest Regional in Grand Rapids and the 2007 Frozen Four. He scored the game-tying goal midway through the third period against Boston College in the national championship game and assisted on Justin Abdelkader’s game-winning goal.

Kennedy was originally drafted in the sixth round (181st overall) of the 2005 Entry Draft by Washington, but his rights were acquired by Buffalo in a draft-day trade with the Capitals.

“We are thrilled to have a player of Tim’s caliber join the Sabres organization,” said Regier. “After three years at Michigan State, we believe this local product is ready to make the move to the professional level.”

Kennedy played youth hockey in the Buffalo area and also won gold with the Western Division in the 2002 and 2003 Empire State Games. Prior to attending Michigan State, Kennedy spent two seasons with the Sioux City Musketeers of the United States Hockey League.

Kennedy is the third Spartan to leave school with eligibility remaining this season. Sophomore Michael Ratchuk signed with the Philadelphia Flyers organization in April, while Abdelkader signed with the Detroit Red Wings four days after the completion of the 2007-08 MSU season. He continues to practice and travel with the Wings during their Stanley Cup run, where Game 5 will take place on Monday night in Detroit.

In addition, the Spartans lost five seniors to graduation - captain Bryan Lerg, who has since signed with the Edmonton Oilers and played several games at the end of the season for the AHL’s Springfield Falcons, forward Chris Mueller, who signed an amateur tryout with the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL), the Red Wings' top affiliate, forward Zak McClellan and defensemen Jeff Dunne and Daniel Vukovic.

Photo courtesy of Michigan State Athletics

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