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Photo Credit: NCAA

Oilers sign UMass-Lowell Forward Gambardella to Entry-Level deal

According to the team’s official Twitter account, the Edmonton Oilers have inked NCAA free agent forward Joseph Gambardella to a two-year, entry-level contract.

Gambardella, a native of Staten Island, New York who turned 23 in December, spent the past few seasons with the UMass-Lowell River Hawks of the NCAA, where he racked up 47 goals and 82 assists in 151 career games. Gambardella’s 52 points in 41 games this season was the best on his team, and was good for 11th in NCAA. He also became the first ever UMass-Lowell player to win the Walter Brown Trophy for best American-born forward in New England, beating out names like Clayton Keller, Colin White, Charlie McAvoy, and Tage Thompson for the honour.

There’s no word yet on what bonuses Gambardella will receive on his entry-level deal or what his cap hit would be. His contract will begin in 2017-18, but according to EliteProspects he’ll be joining the Bakersfield Condors for the remainder of the AHL season.

What do we know about him? Not much. There seems to be limited information available about him as a player, but there are a few interesting nuggets available:

“He’s certainly developed over four years. He’s a substance player. Aesthetically, he may not look perfect, but, at the end of the night, he produces. He’s always a plus player. He’s a glue guy in the locker room. I can’t say enough about Joseph Gambardella. He comes from great stock, great family.” – UMass-Lowell head coach Norm Bazin, March 19, 2017. 

“Joe Gambardella has developed greatly as a man and a student athlete throughout his four year. He has become one of the elite offensive threats in Hockey East due to his work ethic and persistence. He is a true example of what a student-athlete should stand for on and off the ice.” – U-Mass Lowell head coach Norm Bazin, March 22, 2017. 

“Gambardella scored those 17 goals on only 64 shots, by far the fewest of any skater in the top 50. So when he takes aim, chances are good things happen. His value on the ice is also reflected in his plus/minus rating of plus-16; he’s also tied for the first in the country with six game-winning goals. And the River Hawks own a 19-4-2 record when Gambardella scores a point. – Stephen Hart, SI, March 10, 2017.

  • Ever the Optimist

    nhle of 14 – 28 – 42 points in his nhle is short of whats cags had. A small (5’10” 205 lb) aggressive forward who plays center. Seems like he should provide call up depth but then again thats what i thought about cags and benning. We shall see next year.

    • MacT's Neglected Helmet

      Yes. When Benning was signed we all thought, “Good signing. This will help balance the leftorium at the AHL level.” I don’t think anybody would have expected him to be so ready for the NHL. You just never know. As with Pokemon, the best strategy is to collect em all. As many as you can.

  • vetinari

    Good signing. Cost us nothing but a 50 man roster spot for a mature college kid. We need value depth signings to ease the pending Draisatl and McDavid contracts and the college ranks are giving us some interesting players.

  • Lyxdeslic

    Chiarelli does something other Oilers GMs of past have not… create depth at every position. Bringing in guys like Benning, Cagguila, Fontaine, Reinhart (hate him or love him) and Ellis create organizational depth in all areas and push the prospects we draft, while enabling them to play in situations that make them succeed. I love what he’s done at the junior level (Mantha, Bear, Jones, Benson) to farm level and the even the big club in under 2 full seasons.

  • MacT's Neglected Helmet

    Good stuff.

    Chia’s done extremely well with his college signings so far.
    – Matt Benning: NHL-caliber dman. Bottom pairing but possibly more.
    – Drake Caggiula: NHL-caliber depth forward. Possibly more.
    – Nick Ellis: AHL starter. Possibly more. A good prospect.
    – Patrick Russell: Offensively shy in his first year in the AHL.

    2 NHLers and 1 good prospect. That’s amazing value. How many draft picks and years of development time would you have to give up to get players/prospects like this? Five or size 2nd round picks? A 1st round pick? Recall that a 1st round pick has ~80% chance of making it to the NHL and a 2nd round pick has ~45% chance.

  • MacT's Neglected Helmet

    > “Gambardella scored those 17 goals on only 64 shots, by far the fewest of any skater in the top 50.
    > So when he takes aim, chances are good things happen. His value on the ice is also reflected in his
    > plus/minus rating of plus-16; he’s also tied for the first in the country with six game-winning goals.
    > And the River Hawks own a 19-4-2 record when Gambardella scores a point.

    LOL. The analytics contingent is going to LOVE these numbers~ Especially that 27% shooting percentage 😛