BOISE, Idaho – Defenseman Jeff King returns to the Idaho Steelheads, signing an ECHL Standard Player Contract (SPC) for the 2019-20 season, Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Neil Graham announced Wednesday.
“After the season we had last year, there’s not much more I could ask for than to play for the Steelheads again,” said King. “It’s a great city, and the organization is run fantastically, so it’s the perfect situation for me and I can’t wait to get back [to Boise].”
King, 23, played 66 games with the Steelheads during the 2018-19 season, tallying six goals and 25 assists for 31 points with 47 penalty minutes, a plus-16 rating and one power play goal. The St. Clair, Mich. native finished second among Steelheads defenseman in rating after joining the team from the Fort Wayne Komets in an October trade. In his first two professional seasons, he owns 11 goals and 33 assists for 44 points through 128 ECHL games.
The 5-foot-11, 171-pound defenseman had a breakout season in 2018-19, not only topping his previous career-high in games played (34) but also leaping over his career-high scoring totals in all major categories. He made his Steelheads debut on Oct. 19, 2018 against the Utah Grizzlies and has seen time with four ECHL teams since his professional debut on Oct. 31, 2017 with the Orlando Solar Bears.
“The trade to Boise had a major impact. Getting involved with [Graham] and [Coach Everett Sheen] gave me nothing but confidence, which I feel like I was lacking a little bit coming into Boise. They gave me loads of it so I could go on the ice and do my thing. Being a second-year guy helped as well, but I’ve got to give a lot of credit to them for letting me play my game, which not a lot of coaches let you do that.”
“Jeff King is a modern day defenseman,” said Graham. “He adds mobility, vision and layers to our offense. He defends fast and jump-starts our transition effectively. We’re happy to have him back on board for next season.”
Prior to his professional career, King spent four seasons with the Sarnia Sting (OHL), finishing his junior career with 56 points (14 goals, 42 assists) through 66 games in 2016-17 while setting career-highs in all categories. Over his four seasons, he posted 26 goals and 105 assists for 131 points with a plus-24 rating through 250 games.
King is the second player and first defenseman announced to sign with the Steelheads for the 2019-20 season, joining captain and forward A.J. White on the contract list. Future announcements and signings will be announced throughout the summer.
“If you look at the team we had last year, all of the guys we could get back I think [Graham] will try and get back,” said King. “We had an amazing team that I think fell well-short of what we could have done. Getting [White] back to be the first guy signed is fantastic. As far as the nucleus goes, he was the center of that nucleus.”
The Steelheads return to CenturyLink Arena on Friday, Oct. 18 for the 2019-20 Home Opener against the Wichita Thunder. Season tickets and flex plans for the 2019-20 season are now available! Call the Steelheads Front Office at 208-383-0080 to plan your seats for next season. Stay connected to the Steelheads throughout the summer on idahosteelheads.com or by following the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.