Thrilled? Yes. Ecstatic? Completely.
The Ottawa Senators find themselves winners of the Matt O'Connor sweepstakes as he recently signed a two year entry level agreement after completing his final season for Boston University.
He seems to be just as excited with his decision as well:
Blessed. Thank you Mom and Dad, Katie, teammates, coaches, Todd, billet family, family, BU and everyone who believed! Time to get after it!— OC (@MatttOConnor) May 9, 2015
Good Great news for B-Sens' fans as this changes the complexion to setting up a winning team while building support around O'Connor and not letting him fail in the process.
"As a goalie, you need time to develop your pro game and I would definitely picture myself in Binghamton," O'Connor said. "I'm not one to come into an organization and demand games or expect promises because the bottom line is, it's about stopping the puck.
"I think in my development path I can develop a lot in the (AHL) and that's a big opportunity for me to develop my game and go when I'm ready. As a goalie, you want to go when your ready and you want the organization to have you play when your ready. I definitely would expect to start in Binghamton next year."
~ Courtesy of Bruce Garrioch, Ottawa Sun
Move over Chris Driedger, you now have company.
With the organizations working together to provide quality goaltenders, the ex-college free agent must've done his homework as Ray Emery, Brian Elliott, Ben Bishop, Robin Lehner and recently Andrew Hammond have all gone through the ranks of success in the NHL while learning the game in Binghamton over the past 13 seasons of the working relationship between the two cities.
In what could be an awesome one-two punch coming up in-between the pipes for Bingo next season, Driedger will be in the mix as well as the pairing stands to be a huge improvement and should provide a boost in the blue paint over the past season.
Matt O'Connor attended #Sens Development Camp in 2011 - must have liked what he saw. The camp is top-notch from power skating to dieticians.— Murray Pam (@Pammerhockey) May 9, 2015
Not sure if Scott Greenham will be included next year, but if he does he's obviously going to end up playing for the ECHL affiliate in Evansville, as the IceMen look to rebound after a really dismal year, ending up dead last in the league. Not a bad option as a reliable third goaltender and has proven to win at the AHL level.
O'Connor signed a two year agreement instead of the common three year entry level deal which is somewhat odd, but nevertheless happens as college free agents require special structures and who knows what happened behind the scenes in jockeying for his new deal.
He played in 35 games and recorded a 25-4-4 in 35 games for BU with a GAA of 2.18 and a respectable 0.927 SV% as his team fell a game short of a national title.
The 23-year-old native of Toronto is listed at 6' 5" and 201 lbs. and is quite agile in net with a terrific quick glove as shown with this highlight video:
Then there's this gaffe in the title game against Providence:
Ottawa's goaltending coach Rick Wamsley played an instrumental role in O'Connor's signing as he works one-on-one with future NHL candidates. His success rate has seen the likes of Robin Lehner and Andrew Hammond over the past five years for the Senators.
Wamsley has made numerous trips to Binghamton throughout the course of each season and stays close in his follow-ups in progress which likely aided O'Connor's determination in signing with the Sens.
Hopefully Ottawa has learned from their past mistakes in rushing goaltenders and allows O'Connor to play a FULL season in Binghamton and won't bring him up prematurely. He even stated the same in his thoughts as he admitted to make adjustments to the pro game at the AHL level and then go from there.
Smart thinking this guy O'Connor.
Welcome aboard Matt to the hockey hotbed of the East Coast in Bingo.