Last summer, special assignment scout Kevin Stevens dug up a gem from the Boston area in the form of a little-known defenseman named John Marino. This year, Stevens might be hitting literally close to home. As in, his own home.
Hearing Yale and Nobles alum Luke Stevens will sign NHL entry level deal with Penguins. The Carolina pick became a free agent August 15th.— Jeff Cox (@JeffCoxSports) August 17, 2020
The younger Stevens just completed a decent but not exactly eye-popping career at Yale.
Being 6’4, 6’5 with the pedigree of an NHL father can’t be taught or measured, but overall there’s not much on the resume to presume Luke Stevens has a bright NHL future. Stevens was on the radar enough to be drafted in summer 2015, but then Stevens enrolled in a prep school in Massachusetts for 2015-16 and got off to a slow start in his collegiate career, battling some injuries along the way.
But, who knows, the Pens reportedly wanted to sign their own draft pick Nikita Pavylchev to an AHL only contract, which can occasionally be a stepping stone to the next level (see Sheary, Conor). Pavlychev declined that opportunity and opted instead to become a free agent, which naturally now does clear a spot in the organization for a very raw but very big power forward type of prospect.
If Luke Stevens is added to an AHL contract, which doesn’t count against the Penguins’ 50-player NHL contract limit, this is a no risk move that’s not a big deal. If Stevens is signed to an NHL deal it would be less appealing. That said, if this move is all just to cater to a scout’s wishes who already found one player last year that drastically out-performed all expectations, hell, there could be worse happening in the world today.