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Official: Islanders sign Aaron Ness; to report to Bridgeport on ATO

<strong>"Amateurs, dude."</strong>
"Amateurs, dude."

This time, the rumblings from earlier this week became reality: The Islanders announce they have signed Aaron Ness to a three-year entry level contract (ELC) -- which kicks in for 2011-12 -- and he'll report to AHL Bridgeport now on an Amateur Try Out contract (ATO). Ness leaves college after his junior season.

He's listed by the Isles as 5'10" and 177-lbs. now, so he will always have the size deficit to overcome in the pro game and hopefully with the Isles help continuing developing a pro body. His three seasons with the University of Minnesota have been a mix of promise and stalls, with point totals that haven't met expectations on a NCAA team that did the same. Of 13 picks in the Islanders' tranformational 2008 draft, Ness (2nd round, 40th overall) represents the ninth to turn pro thus far, though two of them are defensemen who have turned pro with other teams (Jyri Niemi, Jared Spurgeon).

I'll hopefully have a little more outside insight plus links added to this post later, as we already have a lot of other discussion threads here today. [Update: More info/quotes on Ness are in this post.] For now, well, there's another minor March question answered.