Photo Credit: Macayla Chianco

Oilers ink NCAA free agent Colin Larkin to entry-level deal

The Oilers dipped into the NCAA free agent pool last night, signing forward Colin Larkin of UMass-Boston to a one-year entry-level contract.

Larkin is the older brother of Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings. He’s a senior at UMass-Boston and finished his final season with 24 goals and 22 assists in 27 games. That was the most on the team an fourth-most in the league.

Those are good stats, but it has to be said that Larkin is playing in the NCAA’s Division III. Seldom do you see players play for a Div III school make the jump to the NHL level, but you never know. There’s no downside to this kind of signing, really, other than a hit against the 50-contract limit.

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Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/-
2012-13 Michigan Warriors NAHL 50 7 11 18 34 -2
2013-14 Michigan Warriors NAHL 58 23 14 37 58 9
2014-15 UMass-Boston ECAC-E 27 10 17 27 18
2015-16 UMass-Boston NEHC 31 10 26 36 20
2016-17 UMass-Boston NEHC 26 20 19 39 24
2017-18 UMass-Boston NEHC 27 24 22 46 12


  • Consultant

    Well they certainly like to scouting the Boston area.
    Anyone want to explain this Div 1 versus Div 3 thing? Can teams bounce between them depending on their record? Why didn’t he play in a higher Div if he was lighting this one up??

    • Cam Lewis

      The difference comes down to the size of the student bodies, the athletic budgets, and the athletic scholarships. The thing with DIV III is that they don’t offer athletic scholarships. The emphasis in this division is on the value of competing in sports to the participant. There is less of a focus on generating revenue or creating events for spectators.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    Div-3 is decent hockey – and a lot more decent than you think. There are a lot of kids who come out of Tier-II (Junior-A) leagues like the AJHL or SJHL and end up playing Div-3, for reasons that might not have anything to do with playing ability. In the case of a lot of the kids, they end up playing in Div-3 because of where they played junior-A.

    Years ago, an AJHL coach told me that, out west, the scouts from the Div-1 schools don’t like travelling very far afield (or do they need to), so the players who tend to get the scholarships to the big schools are mostly from the Edmonton- and Calgary-area AJHL teams, or the SJHL and BCJHL teams that are along major transportation corridors. The Div-3 schools know this, so they’ll go fishing in further-flung parts of the pond and will often get the kids from the teams further off the beaten path, like Drayton Valley, Grande Prairie, Fort Mac and Whitecourt (although, to be sure, those teams have put a few kids in Div-1).

    Otherwise, the coach told me that there are a lot of similarities between Div-3 and some, if not most, Canadian university hockey. For one thing, he said, Div-3 schools don’t offer scholarships, just as Canadian universities don’t. Players tend to be a lot more “blue-collar” than the Div-1 kids.

    For another, the “calibre” of a good Div-3 team would be pretty close to a mid-level Canadian university team like UBC, Regina, or Western Ontario.

    And, like a lot of Canadian university hockey, Div-3 is hugely “under-scouted.” The coach said this was largely due to resources – a lot of pro teams don’t have (or are bothered to have) the manpower to scout Div-3. Because of that, there’s no doubt there are Div-3 players who could have made the AHL or even the NHL who have fallen through the cracks. Rather than get spotted by a pro scout, they play out their four years, graduate, and go get a job in the real world. Again, just like most Canadian university hockey players.

    None of this means that Larkin’s one of those hidden gems, but it’s an interesting signing. Good on Chiarelli for going off the beaten path on this one. Let’s hope it works out.

  • WheatiesHockey

    Why not just send the kid an invite to rookie camp rather than signing him?? There might be some good prospects that emerge at the Memorial Cup or the RBC Cup. There is no urgency to sign prospects right now.