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Reports were running rampant over the last several days about Islanders defensive draft prospect and Minnesota Golden Gopher Aaron Ness being close to signing his pro contract with the Islanders. His agent, in response to these reports – claimed the rumors as “irresponsible journalism” directed at both blogs and the mainstream media reports alike, in clear denial.

But the rumors just did not stop.

Aaron Ness on Draft Day 2008

Earlier today, Newsday’s Katie Strang said via Twitter that there was something up with the Islanders and Ness once again.

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We all knew how a previous situation played out with the Golden Gophers and Kyle Okposo being lured to the Islanders – this was aired out in the media all over the place, with Garth Snow and Gopher’s head coach Don Lucia verbally sparring. After Ness was drafted and committed to Minnesota – Islanders fans raised an eye brow, and ear marked that page out of curiosity.

Aaron Ness skates for Minnesota Golden Gophers

Flash forward to today – and the rumors and speculation turned out to be correct. The Islanders announced around Noon today, that they had agreed to terms with Ness on his entry level contract and would be reporting to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders AHL affiliate.

Per the press release and Islanders website:

The New York Islanders announced Wednesday that they have signed defenseman Aaron Ness to a three-year, entry-level contract. Ness will report to the Islanders’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and play out the remainder of the 2010-11 season on an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO). The entry-level contract will commence in the upcoming 2011-12 season.

Ness, the Islanders second-round selection (40th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, signs after completing three seasons of collegiate hockey at the University of Minnesota. The 5’10”, 177-pound defenseman appeared in 35 games this season with the Golden Gophers, recording 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) and 41 penalty minutes. The 20-year-old blue-liner concludes his collegiate career with 111 games played and 43 points (six goals, 37 assists).

So, Bridgeport will get to see how Ness could help their defensive and offensive woes – the Islanders get to take a look at another one of their defensive prospects, all the while not even burning the first year of his contract in the process. Lastly, Ness will now be under the watchful eye of the Islanders and Bridgeport coaching staff which will help in his development.

Seems like a win, win, and WIN situation to me.

WINNING!!