Shortly after Seamus Casey put pen to paper on his first NHL contract, he got up from the desk and headed downstairs to the gym.

As he walked through the doors, he was greeted by friends and teammates alike who all congratulated him on his first professional contract. Everything becomes quite real in that moment.

“Signing it this morning was pretty surreal,” he said, “Kind of all hit me at once. It was right before I worked out, so going down into the gym after and all the guys were congratulating me and stuff was I was pretty cool.”

Casey Signing Photo

Casey, who just finished up his second year at Michigan, has officially turned pro and will leave the program that has left an indelible mark on him. And while it’s an easy decision to turn pro, it doesn’t mean it was an easy decision to leave Michigan.

“I never would have thought college would mean as much as it did,” Casey began, “I think Michigan and Ann Arbor is just one of the best places in the world. My time there was just incredible with the guys and the staff is unbelievable. So, leaving Michigan was extremely hard but at the same time, you have the chance to go live out your dream.”

What he’s also firmly aware of is that putting pen to paper is just the start of the living out his dream, it’s what he prefers to call a milestone. The starting milestone in many more to come, en route to truly living out his childhood dream of playing in the National Hockey League.

“The real work is starting now,” he shared, “It’s a big milestone, growing up you see guys signing their entry-level contracts and stuff it's always something you dream of doing but you know you don’t dream of signing your first contract, you dream of playing, playing in the NHL and winning a Stanley Cup. Those are the dreams you have as a kid, so I guess it's just exciting to know that I took a step towards hopefully getting a chance to do that.”

Casey Michigan Wolverines Blur

He knows, too, at just 20 years old there is a long road ahead of him, that jumping right into the NHL off an entry-level deal isn’t typically the norm. There are plenty of other milestones to attain along the way and he’s going into it all with a very sturdy head on his shoulders.

“As fun as this all is, it’s my job,” Casey said, “I think my expectation is that this summer I work as hard as I can every day, I eat the right food, I work out the right way, I come in for Development Camp and training camp in the best shape that I can be in. That’s what they expect of me. On the ice, just do the best I can out there, try my best to make the team. I think expectations are just to do my best out there.”

As he watched the Devils from afar these past two seasons, there was something that certainly stood out that would make any young player excited to be a part of the organization. He saw as players like Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec leaped into the lineup and were learning on the fly. While Casey doesn’t expect his path to be identical, seeing an organization built on giving players an opportunity is compelling.

“It's exciting to see that,” he said, “Just that they give a give guys opportunity where they see that they deserve one. And that's all you can ask for, right? You just want an opportunity when the time's right. To see that is exciting. And then just being at Development Camp last year, the way (Tom Fitzgerald) has interacted with us, it's very exciting. You’ve got a GM that just likes to be around the guys and appreciates everybody and will anyone an opportunity when he thinks they deserve one. So that's all you can ask for.”


Casey is jumping headfirst into this next phase of his life, ready to take on whatever milestone comes next. He’ll be in New Jersey in July for Development Camp and then back again in September when the rookie and main camp open. However many milestones it takes to attain his NHL dream, Casey is going to put in the work and he’ll always carry with him the lessons he learned as part of his two years at Michigan, whose values align with much of what the Devils are building in New Jersey.

“It doesn't matter who you are, you know?,” he said, “The way you support each other on a hockey team means everything. It doesn't matter if you're a first-overall pick or undrafted, or whatever it is, everyone's treated the same. It's just about the team all the time.”

For now, Casey is taking it one milestone at a time. His expectations of himself are simply to simply perform to the best of his abilities. When training camp comes around, who knows where the chips may fall, he’s taking it one day at a time and enjoying every second.

“I'm just so excited,” he said, “Just the opportunity to go and make a team, that’s always the most exciting thing for any hockey player.”