It was an eventful Tuesday for a pair of former Northeastern forwards. Sam Kurker signed his first professional contract, an Amateur Tryout Agreement with the Albany Devils, New Jersey’s AHL affiliate, while Zach Aston-Reese scored his first professional game in his pro debut for the Wilkes-Barre Penguins.
Kurker, a 2nd round pick by the St. Louis Blues in 2012, played in 69 games for the Huskies after playing a season and a half at Boston University. Playing predominately in the middle-six, he posted 24 points (9 goals, 15 assists). His best collegiate season was 2015-16, when he put up 18 points as a stabilizing force in the Huskies’ run to the Hockey East Championship. According to the press release by the Men’s Hockey program, the Huskies were 7-3-4 when he recorded a point, 3-1-1 when he scored, and nearly half of his points came against ranked opponents. Kurker got significant time on the Huskies’ penalty kill in his two seasons at Matthews Arena, and was an alternate captain at times while the Huskies battled injuries.
[BREAKING] The Albany Devils have signed F-Sam Kurker to an ATO. He will wear number 36.
— Albany Devils (@AlbanyDevils) March 21, 2017
Aston-Reese’s collegiate success translated immediately to the proefssional level, scoring in his first professional game. At the end of the first period, he collected a pass in the slot and quickly fired a shot that beat goaltender Jeff Malcom glove-side. His quick, snap-like release has been lauded as “pro-ready” all season, and Wilkes-Barre got to see it first-hand. Aston-Reese skated with the Penguins’ top line and top powerplay unit throughout the game.
— Taylor Haase (@TaylorHaasePGH) March 21, 2017
Aston-Reese on his first pro game, goal, and getting punked pregame: pic.twitter.com/FYOCqUkch5
— Seth Lakso (@SethLakso) March 22, 2017
Congratulations to Zach and Sam!