More Fresh Meat!

Stuart McDonald



As NCAA and Major Junior seasons wrap up, players with good seasons are usually rewarded with NHL entry level contracts of varying lengths. I'll update you on the recent signings – significant and otherwise in the Western Conference this week.

(click here for Eastern Conference)


Newly signed players fit into two categories. Previously drafted players whose junior or college careers have come to an end, or undrafted players – essentially free agents who can sign with the highest bidder. 



Ryan Stoa – Colorado

Stoa, a 6'3, 215-pound winger out of the University of Minnesota, ripped up the NCAA this season scoring 24 goals  
and 46 points in 36 games. The former early second round pick in the 2005 draft, doubled his best goal output and  
was two points shy of doubling his best point output to lead the WCHA. Like Bobby Ryan, drafted second overall in  
the same draft, Stoa developed his power game slowly. The Avalanche was patient with Stoa and will now reap the  
dividends. Stoa has upside as a first line power forward.

Luke Gazdic – Dallas

Gazdic, 21, signed a three-year entry-level deal with Dallas recently. He's been assigned to the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL where he's sure to wreak havoc. The 6'3, 230-pound, former Erie Otter is a legitimate OHL "tough guy,"  
earning 127 PIMs in 63 regular season OHL games. The former 6th round pick in the 2007 draft has some upside as an  
NHL enforcer.

Richard Bachman – Dallas

Bachman, a smallish 5'11, 170-pound goalie signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Dallas after a solid  
follow up to his spectacular rookie season at Colorado College, where he was named WCHA Player of the Year. In 35  
games this season, Bachman posted a 14-11-10 record with three shutouts, a 2.63 GAA and a .914 save percentage. The  
fourth round pick in 2006 has some potential as a 1A NHL goalie but he's at least three years away.   

Jordan Eberle – Edmonton

The diminutive but highly skilled centre, didn't take long to sign his first pro contract. Drafted 22nd overall in  
2008, Eberle finished third in scoring in the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ottawa. Still only 18, Eberle  
has two goals and six points for the AHL's Springfield Falcons since signing his three-year, entry-level contract  
with Edmonton. The 5'10, 175-pound centre has upside as a Ray Whitney clone.  

Marco Scandella – Minnesota

Nephew of former NHL'er, Sergio Momesso, Scandella is a big (6'3, 210-pounds) puck moving defenceman. A second round pick in 2008, Scandella led the QMJHL's Val d'Or Foreurs defencemen in points with 37 in 58 games. Scandella won a  
gold medal with Team Canada at the 2008 Under-18 IIHF World Championships. He has some upside as a top-four  
defenceman with some skill.


Aaron Palushaj – St.Louis

Palushaj ripped up the NCAA this season prompting St.Louis to offer him a pro contract after two years at the  
University of Michigan. The 6'0, 185-pound playmaking winger, had 50 points in 39 games. St.Louis' second round pick