Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray announced today the club has signed free agent forward Stephane Da Costa to a two-year entry-level contract.
Da Costa’s collegiate career came to an end on Saturday, March 26, when his Merrimack College Warriors fell 4-3 in overtime to Notre Dame at the 2011 NCAA Northeast Regional finals in Manchester, N.H.
During his just-completed sophomore season, Da Costa led the Warriors in scoring for the second consecutive campaign, recording 45 points (14 goals, 31 assists) in 33 games. In doing so, he helped lead Merrimack to Division I NCAA school records in wins, points, home wins and road wins while advancing to the Hockey East Championship for the first time with a 25-10-4 record. The Warriors fell 5-3 to Boston College in the Hockey East Championship game on March 19, but earned their first NCAA tournament bid since joining Hockey East in the process.
Da Costa was named to Hockey East’s second all-star team on March 18 and went on to match his freshmen collegiate career highs in points (45) while establishing new career highs in assists (31) and penalty minutes (42). He ranked second among all Hockey East players in points per game average (1.36) this season.
The 5-11, 180-pound native of Paris, France, who turns 22 on July 11, was recognized as the NCAA rookie of the year following his freshman season in 2009-10, becoming the first Merrimack player to receive the national award. He was also named the winner of the United States College Hockey Organization and Hockey East Rookie of the Year awards and was the first-ever Hockey East player to be named rookie of the month on five occasions. He was also named to the Hockey East all-academic team before representing France at the 2010 IIHF World Championship in Germany, where he tied for the team lead in scoring with three points in five games.
Over a two-season collegiate career, Da Costa recorded 30 goals, 60 assists and 83 penalty minutes in 67 games with Merrimack College. His most recent honour occurred yesterday when he was named to this year’s all-New England team. He is the first French-born player to be signed by the Senators.
Prior to enrolling at Merrimack, Da Costa played two seasons with the United States Hockey League’s Sioux City Musketeers from 2007-08 through 2008-09, where he recorded 104 points (43 goals, 61 assists) and 45 penalty minutes in 99 games.