A pair of NHL draft picks have committed to Ohio State for the 2018-19 season. The Buckeyes announced (Twitter links) that defenseman Ryan O’Connell and winger Carson Meyer will be joining them next year. O’Connell, a seventh-rounder of Toronto last June, had previously committed to join Boston University next year and spent this past season with Penticton of the BCHL. Meyer’s case is more intriguing. The Columbus prospect (selected in the sixth round last year) has spent the past two years at Miami-Ohio. After a strong rookie campaign where he posted 26 points in 34 games, his output dipped to just ten points in 34 contests as he dealt with season-long fatigue issues. Typically, a player who transfers is forced to sit for a year but it is expected that Meyer will petition the NCAA for a waiver to allow him to play next season.
Elsewhere around the hockey world:
- Ducks pending UFA center Antoine Vermette acknowledged to TVA Sports’ Mario Morrisette that he may have played his final game. While he’s hopeful to land another contract for next season, he wants to be closer to his family and has already ruled out the idea of going overseas. The soon-to-be 36-year-old had just 16 points in 64 games with Anaheim and got into just a pair of playoff contests where he played just over six minutes per game. However, he won 60% of his faceoffs which could still help him garner some interest in free agency next month.
- Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is well-known for being aggressive when it comes to shaping his roster and after they fell in the second round this postseason, many expect changes are coming. One player that could be on the move is winger Bryan Rust, suggests Mark Madden of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The pending RFA is due a sizable raise after posting 38 points in 69 games but Pittsburgh has good depth on the right side and plans to have Daniel Sprong (also a right winger) in the lineup regularly in 2018-19 which could make Rust expendable. The 26-year-old is arbitration eligible and is one year away from qualifying for unrestricted free agency.