Troy Stecher, the North Dakota sophomore defenseman that’s generated interest around the NHL, has opted not to sign an entry-level deal and will instead return to school this fall.
The news, first reported by the Grand Forks Herald, comes just over a month after Stecher helped UND advance to the Frozen Four, losing in the semifinal to the Jack Eichel-led Boston University Terriers. Stecher scored an unassisted shorthanded goal in the loss.
Stecher, who went undrafted largely because of his diminutive (5-foot-10, 190-pound) frame, was listed as one of USA Today’s NCAA’s top potential free agents in March; all the others listed — Evan Rodriques (Buffalo), Matt O’Connor (Ottawa), Kenney Morrison (Calgary), Casey Bailey (Toronto) and Kyle Baun (Chicago) went on to sign pro deals.
“He’s a real strong player with the puck,” TSN analyst Craig Button said of Stecher. “He can make plays and run a power play. He has a poise on the blue line.”