The Ottawa Senators have signed sought after Boston University free agent goaltender Matt O'Connor to a two-year deal. The Sens faced stiffed competition for the former BU goalie's services from several teams including the Vancouver Canucks. The 23-year-old, Toronto native is 6'5" and 200 lbs.
NOW OFFICIAL: The #Sens have agreed to terms with goaltender Matt O'Connor on a two-year entry level contract.— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) May 9, 2015
O'Connor got two years at $925 K plus bonuses from #Sens— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) May 9, 2015
O'Connor had a successful collegiate career. After three seasons in the OJHL and two in the USHL, he joined Boston University in 2012-13. Part of a juggernaut BU team which featured Jack Eichel this past season, O'Connor let in a truly bad goal in the final of the NCAA Divison 1 Frozen Four Final, which his team lost.
2 yr deal for O'Connor. He was 25-4-4 (Hamburglar-like) for BU this year. 2.18 GA and .927 save %. His team came within a game of NCAA title— Wayne Scanlan (@HockeyScanner) May 9, 2015
On his season ending on a bad goal: "you can't define yourself on one play. As a goalie you're either the donkey or the hero." #O'Connor— Wayne Scanlan (@HockeyScanner) May 9, 2015
Bryan Murray shared some thoughts on O'Connor:
#Sens general manager Bryan Murray on O'Connor: "We are very excited to welcome Matt to the Senators family. Matt is a fine example... (1/3)— Sens communications (@Media_Sens) May 9, 2015
...of both the type of player and person that our organization looks for when we are acquiring talent. We are confident… (2/3)— Sens communications (@Media_Sens) May 9, 2015
...that under the tutelage of our player development staff, Matt will have the opportunity to develop into an outstanding NHL goaltender."— Sens communications (@Media_Sens) May 9, 2015
O'Connor had this to say about the signing:
"You want to go someplace where they develop goaltenders." - Matt O'Connor on signing with the #Sens— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) May 9, 2015
O'Connor says tough choice but feels Ottawa has done a good job developing goalies. #Sens— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) May 9, 2015
O'Connor has attended a Senators camp and came away impressed by the way they develop goalies.— Wayne Scanlan (@HockeyScanner) May 9, 2015
It's a generic quote that could apply to any team in the league, but the Senators showed a willingness to go with Robin Lehner and Andrew Hammond (both products of the Ottawa system) so that might be an appealing factor for a college signing.
The question now remains, what to do with the logjam in the Ottawa crease:
Anderson, Lehner, Driedger, O'Connor are all under contract for next season. UFA Hammond to be offered a contract. Something has to give.— Steve Lloyd (@TSNSteveLloyd) May 9, 2015
O'Connor got no promises of games in Ottawa next year. Plans to start in Binghamton. #Sens— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) May 9, 2015
With both Lehner and Craig Anderson signed to reasonable deals at the NHL level and with the Senators willing to negotiate with Hammond, Ottawa's surplus has led to speculation that a trade is in the works this summer. Lehner has been on the trade block this season and seems the likeliest candidate to be traded at this point. However, his health remains a concern.
What's Lehner's status?
As goalie trade speculation ramps up, it should be noted that as of 10 days ago, Lehner was still having symptoms & was shut down again.— Steve Lloyd (@TSNSteveLloyd) May 9, 2015
How about that Hammond contract?
The #Sens will likely get down to brass tacks with Andrew Hammond sometime next week.— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) May 9, 2015
Lee said talks with Hammond will resume when Pierre Dorion returns from Europe. #Sens— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) May 9, 2015