ESPN Insider Craig Custance writes that teams are lining up for the chance to sign Boston University goalie Matt O'Connor, with five willing to play him this season in the NHL. But, it may be smarter for him to pick a team with more stability in the crease so he can develop for another season or two in the AHL.
A Western Conference scout on O’Connor: “To me, he’s just starting to scratch the surface of what he can be.”
Here's an excerpt from Custance's Insider piece:
Every year around this time, there’s a college free agent who stands out from the rest, who draws all kinds of interest and signs with an NHL team after his season ends. O’Connor is that guy this year. He’s the starting goalie on a Boston University team with championship aspirations -- and it won’t just be BU fans watching every save closely.
According to an NHL source, there are 14 teams that can be characterized as having strong interest in signing him. Five of those teams have already offered to play him in the NHL this season in order to burn a year on what would be a two-year entry-level deal. That's a rarity for a college free-agent goaltender.
The Buffalo Sabres are aggressively pursuing him but they’re far from alone. The teams offering to play a college goalie down the stretch aren’t the ones fighting for playoff position, so it doesn’t take a math major to figure out who else is heavily in the mix.
It’s a safe bet that Edmonton, Carolina and Arizona are among the interested. But it’s not just bad teams with obvious goalie holes; the Dallas Stars, for instance, are also interested. A lot of teams are.
And what’s not to like? O’Connor has size, plays on a high-profile team and has put up strong numbers in his junior year at BU. He’s 18-3-4 with a .927 save percentage, appearing in his most games in one season since taking the Phantoms to the playoffs.
Most importantly, he’s got the one thing every team wants in its young goalies: Size.
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