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Phoenix Coyotes sign St. Lawrence’s Greg Carey

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It’s been a whirlwind of a week for Greg Carey and the excitement is far from over in the coming days for the St. Lawrence University standout.

Carey, after completing his senior season with the Saints and amid speculation he would sign with a National Hockey League team, made his choice on Wednesday, agreeing to a one-year entry-level contract with the Phoenix Coyotes.

After his St. Lawrence playing career came to a conclusion on Saturday night when the Saints lost Colgate in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals, the talented forward was courted by several NHL teams before he completed the deal with the Coyotes on Wednesday afternoon. He also considered offers from the Minnesota Wild and Philadelphia Flyers.

“It’s been crazy, it’s been an absolute roller coaster,” Carey said. “It’s just been and up and down experience — taking phone calls all day and trying to figure it out. But it’s kind of nice to know it’s over so I can move on.”

Carey, who also signed an amateur tryout agreement with the American Hockey League’s Portland Pirates, will report today to Phoenix’s minor league affiliate in Maine. The entry-level contract with Coyotes applies for next season.

“I think they offered a really good opportunity for me, and I’m excited to take a step to the next level,” the Hamilton, Ontario, native said. “I feel like I fit well with what they’re trying to do, and I’m excited to help them out for the rest of the season any way I can.”

“I’m very excited for Greg,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said. “He’s a kid that came in and has been quite a college student-athlete for us. He’s shown that he has a special talent, and he finished (tied) as the program’s second all-time leading scorer, which is quite a compliment to him with all the players who have come through his program.”

Carey called his signing decision a “close one” but ultimately chose Phoenix since the organization provides him with the “best opportunity” for the high-scoring winger.

“I just think my skill set fits with what they’re looking for,” Carey said. “What they’re looking for is some offense and I take pride in my offensive ability. I’m pretty excited to be able to offer that to the team and see what I can do at the next level.”

Carey, who currently leads the nation in assists (39) and is third in points (57), could have turned pro earlier in his collegiate career, particularly after leading the country in goals (28) last season, when he became the first junior to achieve Hobey Baker Award finalist status in SLU history.

Instead, he remained in school and skated on the same line this season with younger brother Matt, with both sharing the team lead in goals scored (18).

“With him going into next year as a pro hockey player with not only a diploma, but a diploma with honors, is a great credit to him,” Carvel said of Greg Carey, who is three credits short of graduation.

Greg Carey is the first player in college hockey to lead the nation in goals as a junior to then top the nation in assists the following year since Jason Krog of the University of New Hampshire in 1999.

With his 185 career points, Greg Carey tied Brian McFarlane (1951-55) on the SLU all-time scoring list. Carey is also fourth in career goals (84) at the school and finished tied for seventh in career assists (101), with former teammate Kyle Flanagan, who turned pro last year by signing with Philadelphia.

“It’s tough moving on, especially when you become attached and are part of something like the St. Lawrence community and the hockey program,” Greg Carey said. “In my four years I tried to give it all and now it’s tough to leave. But I’m excited to see what else I can achieve.”

Matt Carey, also a forward who has left SLU after his first season as a redshirt freshman, is reportedly close to signing with an NHL team as well, with Phoenix one of his options.

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