On Tuesday, Ray Shero announced that the New Jersey Devils have signed defenseman Michael Kapla to a two-year, entry-level deal.
Kapla is a 22 year old, 6’0”, 200lb, left-handed defenseman from Eau Claire, WI. He has spent the past four seasons playing with the University of Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks, and the two seasons prior with Sioux City (USHL).
His contract with the Devils is effective this season (2016-17). He will be wearing no. 32.
What do we know about him?
Kapla has led his team to a championship as their captain while receiving his fair share of honors for his play. He also puts up points on the board, even from the blue line.
He most recently captained the River Hawks to the 2017 Hockey East Championship. He was a member of the 2014 Hockey East All-Rookie Team (and also won the Conference Championship that year with the River Hawks), he was named to the Hockey East Second All-Star Team, and he earned Hockey East All-Tournament Team honors.
He was second in scoring for defensemen on his team, putting up 30 points in 40 games last season (3G, 27A), including a four assist game in the Ledyard Classic Championship Game. Over his 152 game collegiate career, he has scored 92 points (17G, 75A) alongside a total of 100 penalty minutes.
With the defense highlighted as one of the weak spots on the team this season, clearly the team needs to make some moves for the future. The Devils are looking for Kapla to bring his leadership and success to the franchise.
I’m personally pleased to see the team make moves seeking young talent on defense, as it takes time for defensemen to build up confidence in their game at the professional level. But what’s your take on this signing? Do you like the ELC? Or do you wish Shero was focused on locking down proven NHL-caliber talent?