While the rest of the hockey world focuses on some high-profile college talent signing their entry-level contracts, the Tampa Bay Lightning have announced a more under-the-radar signing. Odeen Tufto has signed a one-year entry-level contract with the Lightning for the 2021-22 season and will report to the Syracuse Crunch on an amateur tryout for the rest of this season.
Tufto, 24, was one of the top undrafted college free agents after an incredible senior season that saw him score 47 points in just 29 games. That mark was good enough to make him a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, but it isn’t all that much different than his other three seasons for Quinnipiac University. The 5’7″ forward put up totals of 41, 42 and 38 points in his first three years, meaning he’ll leave college with 168 points in 139 appearances. His 39 assists led the nation this season and he served as captain for Quinnipiac.
While he doesn’t project the same as someone like Cole Caufield, the only NCAA player to score more points than him this season, Tufto is a sneaky depth pickup for an organization that has never been afraid of adding undersized forward talent. The Lightning have made stars out of players like Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde, neither of whom were drafted despite elite offensive numbers in junior. It’s a long shot, but perhaps the Tampa Bay development staff can coax a similar performance out of Tufto, who has scored a boatload of points at every stop so far.