The Pittsburgh Penguins have pulled off a huge coup and it may very well be one that will benefit them down the stretch in the 2019 - 2020 National Hockey League regular season as well as in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
According to a breaking news report from TSN NHL insider Frank Seravalli, the Penguins have acquired the services of 21 year old forward Drew O'Connor and have signed him to his first NHL deal. Seravalli ranked O'Connor 4th when it came to undrafted free agents out of college that were getting the most interest from NHL teams this spring and described the young man as a can't miss find in that report. Additionally O'Connor was named the ECAC player of the year after recording 21 goals and 12 assists for 33 points in just 31 games this season for Dartmouth College. It's a big win for the Penguins as no doubt there was fierce competition for the young American born forward, but when you can offer a young man the prospect of playing with players like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin it no doubt makes for a very strong sales pitch.
Here is how Seravalli described O'Connor just last week:
The ECAC’s Co-Player of the Year has sprouted into a can’t-miss find. O’Connor was just 5-foot-8 at age 18, a big reason he wasn’t on NHL radars in his draft year, but has grown to 6-foot-3 while playing for the appropriately named for the Big Green. NHL teams have flocked to watch O’Connor, who they see as a legitimate NHL power forward prospect with a nose for the net. His 38 goals (in 68 games) are the third most in the country over the last two seasons – with a 16 per cent shooting percentage this season – but his overall game has grown as much as his body. There is definitely no shortage of NHL interest in O’Connor, but there is no guarantee the sophomore will decide to leave school early.
Of course we now know that O'Connor has indeed chosen to leave school early and now we will only need to wait and see how that decision pays off for both him and the Penguins.