Now that the calendar has turned over to March, we’ll see plenty of teams reaching out to junior and college free agents with contract offers. Entry-level contracts can now be signed that start next season. That’s exactly what happened with undrafted free agent Jimmy Huntington, who the Tampa Bay Lightning have signed to a three-year entry-level deal. Huntington is an overager playing for the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL, on a line with potential 2020 first-overall pick Alexis Lafreniere.
Huntington, 20, isn’t the same type of offensive powerhouse that Lafreniere is, but has still had an excellent season for Rimouski. He ranks second on the team with 83 points through 60 games and actually leads the team in goals with 38. The 6’1″ center is extremely hard working and will routinely drive the net both with and without the puck, using strong body positioning to create chances.
While his offensive ceiling may not be extremely high, the Lightning have had success in the past with undrafted forwards out of the QMJHL. Yanni Gourde and Danick Martel immediately come to mind as examples of overlooked talents that have found their way to the NHL in Tampa Bay. Joining an organization with that kind of history is obviously attractive, even if there is no guarantee he’ll be able to make that kind of impact at the professional level.