The Edmonton Oilers have apparently won the Drake Caggiula sweepstakes.
Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman and TSN’s Bob McKenzie both reported on Friday night that Caggiula — an NCAA standout who helped the University of North Dakota capture the Frozen Four title last month — has decided to sign with the Oilers and begin his NHL career in Edmonton.
Drake Caggiula is, in fact, bound for EDM.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) May 7, 2016
Hearing Drake Caggiula has indeed committed to EDM.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 7, 2016
Several clubs — including Vancouver and Philadelphia — were reportedly in the running to sign the five-foot-10, 180-pound left-winger, who just wrapped up his fourth season with the Fighting Hawks where he netted 51 points in 39 games played.
The Oilers have remained mum about the reported new deal, however a source told the Edmonton Journal Caggiula has inked a two-year contract and that the 21-year-old was in Edmonton a few days back to tour the city.
Caggiula, a native of Pickering, Ont., was named the most outstanding player of the Frozen Four tournament after scoring two goals in the final. Caggiula’s new deal with the Oilers could be announced as early as Saturday.
Teams Interested in Caggiula
For a time, it seemed as if Philadelphia may be the frontrunner to sign Caggiula and it wasn’t a secret how interested the Flyers were in adding the prospect. But Philadelphia’s loss, is Edmonton’s gain.
“He’s a pit bull. He’s a hard kid to bet against,” Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol told McKenzie earlier this year.
Philadelphia general manager Ron Hextall also expressed interest in signing Caggiula, calling the prospect “a good fit” for the club.
Other teams that were reportedly interested included Ottawa, Chicago and Buffalo.
McKenzie said Caggiula had the opportunity to play alongside Oilers star Connor McDavid with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, but opted to take the NCAA route instead.
“Now he seizes the opportunity,” the TSN Hockey Insider tweeted.
Many critics question if Caggiula is ready to make the leap to the NHL — mainly because of his size. But what he lacks in that department, the undrafted free agent makes up for it with his work ethic and determination.
One Western-based scout told the Edmonton Journal that Caggiula “is small and a really good skater and he doesn’t shy away from traffic at all. He’s really aggressive.”