The Ottawa Senators have signed NCAA free agent Andrew Sturtz to a two-year entry-level contract. Sturtz recently finished his junior season at Penn State, where he led the team in scoring with 40 points in 37 games.
Sturtz, 23, played his junior hockey in Carleton Place just outside of Ottawa and will now complete a homecoming of sorts after three years at Penn State. The undersized forward will actually graduate after just those three seasons, something Senators’ GM Pierre Dorion mentions in his press release to announce the signing:
Andrew is a player whom we identified as someone we were interested in for some time. He is a skilled, competitive player who can play both center and the wing. He’s not only talented, but the type of character player we are looking for. He’ll graduate from Penn State in only three years and we look forward to having him in camp next season.
The contract will begin in 2018-19, meaning that Sturtz won’t hit restricted free agency until the summer of 2020. Though he may have a long road to the NHL, this first step has been made possible by the continued effort around the league to give chances to smaller skilled players. Talent like Sturtz may have been overlooked in the draft even just a few years ago, but after finding success in college there is little risk in giving him an opportunity at the AHL level.