Senators land highly-touted college free agent Da Costa Staff

3/31/2011 4:49:26 PM

The Ottawa Senators have landed college free agent forward Stephane Da Costa, signing him to a two-year entry-level contract on Thursday.

General manager Bryan Murray confirmed Da Costa will play in Saturday's game against Toronto.

"(Just) like every other kid I'm sure, it was my dream to play in the NHL," Da Costa said on a conference call. "Of course it was stressful, but I got the right place and the best fit for me I think."

The highly touted 21-year-old forward was scouted by as many as 16 teams at some point this season, according to agent Wade Arnott of Newport Sports.

"I thought it was the best opportunity, a great fit," said Da Costa. "I heard a lot of good things about it - about the city, the organization. I thought that was the best fit for me."

This 5'11, 180 lb, native of Paris, France led the NCAA's Merrimack Warriors in scoring over the past two years, posting back-to-back 45 point seasons. In doing so, he helped lead Merrimack to Division I NCAA school records in wins, points, home wins and road wins.

He was named the Division 1 Rookie of the year in his freshman season and the following year, he helped lead the team to it's first-ever Hockey East Championship with a 25-10-4 record.

Over a two-season collegiate career, Da Costa recorded 30 goals, 60 assists and 83 penalty minutes in 67 games with Merrimack College.

Prior to enrolling at Merrimack, Da Costa played two seasons with the United States Hockey League's Sioux City Musketeers from 2007-08 through 2008-09, where he recorded 43 goals, 61 assists and 45 penalty minutes in 99 games.

He represented his country at last year's IIHF World Hockey Championship but isn't sure if he'll return next month, where France has been drawn into the same pool as Canada.

"It depends on the (Senators)," said Da Costa.

Da Costa becomes the sixth player born in France to play in the NHL, joining Cristobal Huet, Philippe Bozon, Pat Daley, Paul Maclean and Andre Peloffy.