Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's ice hockey program continues to draw notice in the professional ranks as another former Bulldog skater recently signed a new contract as the American Hockey League's (AHL) Oklahoma City Barons announced the addition of forward Derek Nesbitt.
Nesbitt, a 6-0, 185-pounder from Egmondville, Ontario, finished last season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, but played the majority of the season with the Peoria Rivermen. The 31-year old led the Rivermen with a career-best 26 goals and finished second on the club with 47 points. Over three seasons with the Rivermen, he recorded 144 points (65-79-144).
A veteran of over 300 games in the AHL, Nesbitt has experience with the Rivermen, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, San Antonio Rampage, Rockford IceHogs and Manitoba Moose. In all, he's played 320 AHL games, scoring 203 points (92-111-203). He previously earned a one-year, two-way contract with the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes in 2008.
Nesbitt broke into the professional ranks with the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL in 2005, helping the team to the Kelly Cup Finals. The next season, he helped the Idaho Steelheads earn the ECHL's postseason championship. In all, he's played in 211 games in the ECHL and scored 240 points (86-154-240).
Between the two leagues, the eight-year veteran has played in 531 games and recorded 443 points (178-265-443). Prior to turning pro, Nesbitt played four seasons at Ferris State from 2001 to 2005 while helping the Bulldogs to their first Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) title and initial NCAA Tournament appearance in 2002-03.
Nesbitt compiled 142 career points with 59 goals and 83 assists in 154 appearances during his collegiate career. The 2002-03 All-CCHA Honorable Mention Team selection presently concluded his career ranked among the Bulldogs' top 15 all-time leaders in points, goals and assists.
Nesbitt joins forwards C.J. Stretch and Erick Lizon and defenseman Joey Leach as players signed by the Barons for the 2013-14 season.
Oklahoma City opens their 38-game home schedule with a weekend set of games on October 4 and 5. This past year, the Barons advanced deep into the playoffs before being eliminated in the conference finals by the eventual AHL Calder Cup Champion Grand Rapids Griffins, who were guided by another former Ferris State Hockey alum in head coach Jeff Blashill.