Blackhawks' free agent target Drake Caggiula of North Dakota signs with Oilers
The 2016 NCAA Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player will head to Edmonton.
The Chicago Blackhawks have missed out on signing undrafted free agent Drake Caggiula of North Dakota. The 2016 NCAA Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player chose the Edmonton Oilers over Chicago and others, and he signed an entry-level deal with them Friday, reports Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald.
He toured several NHL facilities including Vancouver, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Ottawa Senators and Chicago. The final two on his list were reportedly Edmonton and Vancouver.
Chicago was believed to be a front-runner to land Caggiula due to playing with Hawks' draft picks Luke Johnson and Nick Schmaltz. He played at right wing on the famed 'CBS' line with Schmaltz and fellow first-round pick Brock Boeser (Vancouver), and recorded 25 goals with 26 assists in his senior season.
The 21-year-old forward Caggiula scored two of those goals in UND's 5-1 national championship victory over Quinnipiac in April. He also scored two goals with an assist in the semifinal game against Denver.
In the title game, UND entered the third with a 2-1 lead. Caggiula scored at the 1:21 mark then drove in his second two minutes later to secure the team's first championship since 2000.
His two goals against Denver in the semifinal gave UND an early lead that the Pioneers erased. Schmaltz scored the game-winning goal with 56.8 seconds left was set up by Caggiula.
He showed remarkable consistency this past season, scoring a point in 31 of 39 games with a 13-game point streak to close out the season. He scored 22 of his 51 points in the third period.
He was ranked No. 100 on SB Nation College Hockey's Top 100 NCAA prospect list:
Caggiula is putting up big offensive numbers for the second straight season. He is excelling on the wing of North Dakota's 'CBS' line along with first round draft picks Brock Boeser and Nick Schmaltz. Caggiula is a high-effort, high-energy player that is tenacious in puck pursuit and moves the puck effectively on the offensive end. It's unlikely he'll score at the same rate at the pro level, but his scrappiness could make him an effective in a bottom six role, despite being a smaller forward.