Much sought-after college free agent Drake Caggiula appears set to sign with a Canadian team, turning down the Philadelphia Flyers, among others.
It seems that every year there is a hot player or two coming out of college that nearly every NHL team wants. The Philadelphia Flyers are often in that mix, and really there’s nothing to lose by doing so. Such a free agent is only eligible to sign a cheap entry-level contract, and the signing costs the team nothing in a trade or draft pick.
This year the hottest player was University of North Dakota’s Drake Caggiula. Breaking word on Twitter today is that Caggiula will sign with a Canadian team, either Vancouver or Edmonton.
In his senior year this season, Caggiula was an assistant captain of UND. He scored 51 points in 39 games this year, finishing second on the team. Brock Boeser, a first round pick of the Vancouver Canucks in the 2015 NHL draft, led the team with 60 points.
Stylistically, Caggiula could be compared to someone like former Flyer Danny Briere. He’s small (5’10”, 180 pounds), but very quick and very speedy. With the puck, he has a high skill level stickhandling, passing and shooting. Hockey’s Future also described Caggiula as “particularly dangerous below the dots” with “great finishing ability” and “one of the nation’s best clutch scorers.” Again, that sounds just like Briere.
One big factor that presumably helped the Philadelphia Flyers is the North Dakota connection. Caggiula, of course, played his first 3 seasons at North Dakota under now Flyers coach Dave Hakstol. Perhaps this is where a speculated Hakstol-UND pipeline could occur. Another factor that was not-so-good was that Caggiula was visiting the Flyers during the embarrassing scenes at the Flyers’ rink during Game 3 versus the Capitals.
The Flyers were hardly the only team chasing Caggiula. He was linked to at least 8 teams.
Believed he went to BUF, CHI, EDM, OTT, PHI, PIT, TB, VAN among them. Not sure how to handicap the field, though.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 2, 2016
Until today, there were been few indications of which way Caggiula was leaning on signing.
The Flyers already landed a prime college free agent earlier this spring, signing Yale goalie Alex Lyon.