Merrimack’s Stephane Da Costa

Merrimack’s season ended last night the same way Ottawa’s Cup Finals appearance ended: with a boneheaded defensive play putting the puck in the back of their own net. That means it’s open season on Merrimack’s players. It’s likely that forward Stephane Da Costa will sign with an NHL squad and leave Hockey East behind.

Da Costa is a late 1989 birthday from Paris, France and attracted a lot of attention last summer but ultimately returned to school to continue working on his game.

Year Age Team GP G A Pts NHLe G NHLe A NHLe Pts
09-10 20 Merrimack 34 16 29 46 23 42 65
10-11 21 Merrimack 33 14 31 45 16 36 52

Pretty impressive numbers. Suggesting that an NCAA free agent could jump into a lineup next year and clear 50 points would likely put that player in the Calder race.

As a quick comparison here’s a table of some notable NCAA free agents and some high draft picks from the NCAA in their age 21 seasons:

Player Year Age Team GP G A Pts
Tyler Bozak 08-09 21 Denver 41 18 16 34
Bobby Butler 08-09 21 UNH 38 9 21 30
Christian Hanson 07-08 21 Notre Dame 47 13 9 22
Tyler Brenner 09-10 21 RIT 33 15 11 26

Most of these players returned to college for their age 22 seasons before making the jump. Stephane Da Costa is pretty clearly a cut above most of the NCAA free agents we’ve seen recently.

I wanted to see how Da Costa stacks up to some recent first rounders and found two players who I think are much better than Da Costa and two that might be decent comparables:

Player Year Age Team GP G A Pts
Zach Parise 03-04 19 UND 37 23 32 55
Colin Wilson 08-09 19 BU 43 17 38 55
Drew Stafford 05-06 20 UND 42 24 24 48
Nate Gerbe 07-08 20 SUX 43 35 33 68

Colin Wilson and Zach Parise have remarkably similar age 19 seasons to each other and Colin Wilson actually has higher PPG than Parise’s rookie NHL season. Ultimately they both look better than Da Costa and that should make sense to us. They were drafted in the first round for a reason. Drew Stafford and Nate Gerbe’s numbers look very similar to Da Costa’s and I think that’s a decent target. Gerbe’s 23 and has 15 goals this season in the NHL and Stafford is 25 and is sitting at 28.

The Leafs can make another nice addition to their NCAA free agent prospect pool by signing Stephane Da Costa. Let’s hope they do.