It's a long way from Paris to the fields that enshroud the majestic Carp River.
I'm not going to lie, I half-heartedly wanted Da Costa to sign elsewhere on the basis that I could have used a Da Costa La Vista PhotoShopped image but whatever. Ah, I digress. As per TSN's Bob McKenzie, Merrimack College free agent Stephane Da Costa has signed a 2-year entry-level contract with the Ottawa Senators.
And just to make this very clear so that my words aren't misconstrued: I really like this signing.
It doesn't cost the Senators anything. Aside from some of The Euge's cash, it's not like the Senators gave up an asset or used a draft pick to acquire him. Although he was promised some games at the NHL level this season, at the very least, he will likely add some youth and (assumedly) inexpensive talent to a Binghamton roster that will probably have to deal with the loss of a few key individuals -- Condra, Greening and Butler -- to graduation. Looking down the road, it could also afford the Senators the opportunity to trade some of this said talent (or a draft pick or two) to bring in some established quality. On a roster that is already brimming with collegiate players, it will be interesting to see if the reputation of Chris Kelly's Hockey IQ - the product of an OHL education - stands the test of time.
In the best case scenario, Corey Locke is buried further down the NHL depth chart and we can stop reading or hearing from fans who regularly opine for him to be given a fair shot on the big club.1 Okay, so maybe that comes in a close second. Obviously it would be ideal for Da Costa to stick in Ottawa and develop into a top six forward that this team sorely needs.
Now that that's been said, I have to address this hype situation. The buzz that he's generated reminds me of the time when Senators fans fell in love with Roman Wick during last year's Olympics.2 Some good performances outside of the NHL won't necessarily precursors for future success. As previous signings like Jesse Winchester and the aforementioned Butler have shown, sometimes it takes a year or two for these undrafted collegiate players to become regulars. And in the case of a Winchester or a Brian Lee, sometimes the projection of these collegiate player is completely wrong. As such, my expectations are tempered.
According to Renaud Lavoie of RDS (@renhockey), Da Costa will be in Ottawa Thursday and should play Saturday against Toronto. Alfredsson should be the winger of Da Costa Saturday.
Here's audio from a telephone conference that Da Costa had with the media:
1 Note to self: stop reading some Ottawa Sun comment threads.
2 Please note that I'm not trying to compare Wick and Da Costa as players.
Now in homage to Da Costa's signing, here are some potential Ottawa Sun headlines and some music for you readers to check out:
Da Costa Doing Business with NCAA Free Agents
Stephane Steppin' In Saturday Night
DA SENS...DA SENS...DA SENS...
Stephane Da-cides on Ottawa
Gagne Avec Da Costa 2011-2012
Sens Get Call-Back from Merrimack UFA
Da Coast is clear choice for Ottawa