One of college hockey’s most hotly pursued free agents has decided on a home. Merrimack College forward Stephane Da Costa has signed with the Ottawa Senators.
In two seasons at Merrimack, the native of Paris, France put up 30 goals and 60 assists and became an instant breakout candidate for an NHL team to swoop in and sign him. After being scouted by more than 20 teams, Da Costa’s choices were narrowed down, reportedly, to Ottawa, Minnesota, and Florida.
Bryan Murray and the Sens won out though and Da Costa joins a pack of other former NCAA players. Bobby Butler (UNH), Patrick Wiercioch (Denver), Colin Greening (Cornell), Erik Condra (Notre Dame), Ryan Shannon (Boston College), Jesse Winchester (Colgate), and Brian Lee (North Dakota) are the team’s other college players and it’s possible that Da Costa will be the best of them all in Ottawa.
At 5’11” 180 pounds, Da Costa is a playmaking center and if reports are true from Merrimack beat writer Mike McMahon, Da Costa will make his debut with the Senators this season on Saturday against Toronto. It’s rare when college kids are signed out of school and get to go right to the NHL like this, but Ottawa is a special situation in that they could use all the help they can get and Da Costa can provide them with some real offense. Lord knows Jason Spezza can’t do it all by himself.
(Photo from HockeyEastOnline.com)