TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported the San Jose Sharks are among the teams looking to sign graduating Northeastern University star Zachary Aston-Reese. Aston-Reese is a 22-year-old center who can also play wing stands at 6’0” and 190 lbs. and one of the most sought after undrafted unrestricted free agent players to come out of the college ranks this year.
PIT, EDM, VAN, SJ, LA, DET in on one of them (Aston-Reese); BUF, DAL, NJ, COL in on the other (Bayreuther).— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 13, 2017
Aston-Reese is described as playing a solid, responsible 200-foot game, who was deployed in every situation, a tenacious player on the puck. The jury is still out on if he can turn into a top six talent at the pro-level, but he plays the game in a way that should not only earn him a paycheck but endear him to the hometown fans. In 38 games this season he scored 31 goals and 32 assists.
The concern for Aston-Reese is he appears to be looking to play now and burn a year of the entry level contract he signs. The Sharks are loaded with prospect talent, making them a long shot to sign a player who plays hard ball in this fashion.
Of the teams that McKenzie listed, The Edmonton Oilers may be the most appealing. While they have been much improved this year there is still room to grow the roster and of the competitive teams may be the easiest path to the NHL.
There obviously would be no shortage of opportunity in Vancouver with the team finally embracing a youth movement. Pittsburgh and Los Angeles are interesting since even though they are cash-strapped a player on a bonus laden entry level contract would not hurt them today.
Finally, Detroit is the real wild card in this for me, this is a team that has a system that seems pretty packed even if the results are not there at the NHL level. Jeff Cox on our SB Nation College Hockey sister site has been following Aston-Reese for some time and is a great resource for more information on the player.