The Columbus Blue Jackets have dipped into the NCAA free agent market, signing Doyle Somerby to a two-year entry-level contract. Somerby became an unrestricted free agent when the New York Islanders failed to sign him by last week’s deadline. Details on the ELC have not been released.
Somerby, 23, is a huge bruising defender who has played the last four seasons for Boston University and captained the team last year. Selected in the fifth round by the Islanders in 2012 out of a New Hampshire high school, he’s grown into the defensive defenseman they envisioned. As recently as last week the Islanders were still trying to sign him, but he’ll join an organization that already has impressive defensive depth, but not many players who are as “stay-at-home” as Somerby tends to be.
Scoring just 27 points in his entire collegiate career, he was relied upon for big minutes against the other team’s top opponents while more skilled players like Jack Eichel, Clayton Keller and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson handled the offensive load. If he does ever make the NHL, it will likely be in a purely defensive and penalty killing role. For now he’ll almost certainly head to Cleveland to start his professional career in the AHL.