The New Jersey Devils General Manager Ray Shero announced on Friday that the team had signed defenseman Yohann Auvitu to a one-year, two-way, entry-level contract for the 2016-17 season. It will be the French-born skater’s first foray in North American hockey.
He has spent most of his professional career playing in Finland’s top professional league, SM-Liiga, with HIFK Helsinki and JYP Jyvaskyla. This past year with HIFK, he scored six goals and 15 assists for 21 points in 48 games, and was named the league’s Best Defenseman (the Pekka Rautakallio Award) and to the First All-Star Team. He added six goals and seven assists, leading all players with a +8 rating, in 18 playoff games on the way to the league finals.
He represented his home country of France in the World Championship, tallying three assists in seven games. He has represented his country at the past seven World Championships, three under-20 World Junior Championships, two under-18 World Junior Championships and the 2013 Winter Olympics Qualifying Round.
At 6’0” and just shy of 200 lbs, the 26-year-old isn’t very impressive in size, but he does have the ability to play both the blue line and the wing, which adds a versatility that the Devils will keep an eye on. Look for him to start the 2016-17 season in the AHL, but don’t be surprised if you see him in a Devil’s jersey before the season is done.