Ottawa Senators land Stephane Da Costa

The Ottawa Senators signed Stephane Da Costa, right, to a two-year entry-level contract. Photo by Walter Rossini, used with permission.

Various news outlets are reporting that the Ottawa Senators have signed the much-sought-after free agent college player Stephane Da Costa to a two-year entry-level contract. Da Costa was the top college free agent this season, with reports saying all 30 teams were interested in him, with as many as 13 making serious offers, but it would seem Ottawa put together the best package for the 21-year-old. Terms of the deal are not yet available.

Da Costa had just completed his sophomore season in the NCAA for Merrimack College. He was courted even after his freshman season by NHL teams, but decided to return to Merrimack for a second year; now that he's signed a professional contract, returning to play won't be an option, so he will play with the Ottawa Senators or--if it's a two-way deal (which remains to be seen)--perhaps the Binghamton Senators (UPDATE: This ELC, just like all others for players under 25, is a two-way deal. h/t nhlcheapshot).

With Merrimack, Da Costa put up consistent numbers, with 45P in each of his two seasons. His biggest jump in production seems to be the year after he was draft-eligible (which might explain why he was never drafted) while with the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL, where he went from 37P to 67P from one season to the next.

Da Costa joins Bobby Butler and Jesse Winchester as undrafted college prospects courted by Bryan Murray to join the Senators. These moves continue to impress me: Deals that cost the Senators nothing (aside from the money, of course) and quickly re-stock the Senators' prospect ranks with mature and, perhaps, NHL-ready skaters to join the squad.

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