The Atlanta Thrashers announced they have Michael Forney to a multi-year contract. Forney led the Green Bay Gamblers in scoring during the 2008-09 USHL season with 60 points (26g, 34a) in 59 games.
The native of Thief River Falls, Minnesota ranked ninth in USHL scoring during the 2008-09 season. Forney tied for the team lead in goals (26) and led the Gamblers in power play goals. He tied for second in the league with a plus-33 rating which trailed only teammate Nick Jensen. He also led the team in scoring during the playoffs scoring 10 points (3g, 7a) in seven games.
Forney helped Green Bay claim the Anderson Cup as the regular season champions and led the team as they completed the biggest season turnaround in USHL history (50-point improvement in the league standings).
The forward scored a hat trick in his second game of the season, a 7-6 win vs. Chicago on October 11th. All three goals came on the power play which was a league season high for power play goals in a game. Forney then recorded his second three-goal game in a 7-4 win vs. Waterloo on January 3rd. He posted a 10-game point streak from December 31st to January 30th registering 19 points (10g, 9a) and a plus-18 rating. He scored a goal in each of the last five games of that streak including two game-winners.
Forney was originally selected by the Atlanta Thrashers in the third round (80th overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He is the third USHL player from the 2008-09 season to sign a NHL contract this summer. Jake Hauswirth inked an entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals and John Moore signed an entry-level contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets after the team selected him in the first round (21st overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in June.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)