Maple Leafs let Ryan O’Connell reach free agency

Photo credit:Michigan Tech Huskies
Jon Steitzer
10 months ago
August 15th is the deadline for NHL teams to sign their NCAA free agents that finished their college programs. The Leafs had one prospect who fit that criteria, Michigan Tech defenceman Ryan O’Connell. The Maple Leafs opted not to sign him and now he is a free agent.
Ryan O’Connell, 24, is a bit of an outlier in that he played five seasons of NCAA hockey. He was drafted out of St. Andrew’s College, a rare Canadian High School draftee, and he owns the distinction of being the last Maple Leafs draft pick of the Mark Hunter era.
Initially O’Connell went to the Penticton Vees of the BCHL for a season before committing to Ohio State University for his NCAA career. There wasn’t anything particularly distinguishing about O’Connell’s time there nor did he breakthrough with his change of scenery at Michigan Tech this year. At no point in the past six seasons has Ryan O’Connell been ranked in our top 20 prospect rankings.
2016-17 St. Andrew’s CollegeCAHS5463137
2017-18 Penticton VeesBCHL2631114
2018-19 Ohio State Univ.NCAA31112
2019-20 Ohio State Univ.NCAA29167
2020-21 Ohio State Univ.NCAA27066
2021-22 Ohio State Univ.NCAA3001010
2022-23 Michigan TechNCAA35033
O’Connell is now free to sign wherever he likes and perhaps the Leafs may still have interest in him but just on a contract with the Growlers or Marlies, although given the lack of discussion about him over the past six years it seems unlikely.

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