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Troy Stecher, Drake Caggiula and Austin Poganski land NHL deals on opening day of free agency

Stecher will re-unite with Nick Schmaltz in Arizona. Stecher and Schmaltz won an NCAA national title together at UND.

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UND's Troy Stecher signed with the Arizona Coyotes on the opening day of 2022 NHL free agency
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — A trio of former UND players landed new contracts on the opening day of NHL free agency.

Defenseman Troy Stecher signed a one-year deal worth $1.25 million with the Arizona Coyotes.

Forward Drake Caggiula signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins worth $750,000 if he's in the NHL and $400,000 if he is in the minor leagues.

Forward Austin Poganski signed a one-year deal with the Seattle Kraken worth $750,000 if he's in the NHL and $225,000 if he's in the minors.

Stecher, who has played 359 regular-season NHL games, was the most prominent of UND's 12 unrestricted NHL free agents.

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The defenseman from Richmond, B.C., will reunite with one of his old teammates on UND's 2016 NCAA national championship season in Nick Schmaltz.

Last season, Stecher was traded from the Detroit Red Wings to the Los Angeles Kings at the deadline. He helped the Kings secure a playoff spot and scored twice in the playoffs.

Prior to joining Detroit on a two-year deal, Stecher played four seasons with his hometown Vancouver Canucks.

Caggiula was limited to just 18 games last season because of injury. He scored two goals and five points for the Buffalo Sabres.

Caggiula, who has never played a single game in the minor leagues since leaving UND as the NCAA Frozen Four MVP in 2016, also had stints with the Edmonton Oilers, Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes.

Poganski will reunite with the coach who brought him to UND, Dave Hakstol, in Seattle. Poganski has bounced between the NHL and AHL during his four seasons of pro hockey.

Last season, he played 16 games for the Winnipeg Jets. He also has played for the St. Louis Blues.

UND's remaining unrestricted NHL free agents are Aaron Dell, Shane Gersich, Rocco Grimaldi, Cam Johnson, Luke Johnson, Jordan Kawaguchi, Paul LaDue, Carter Rowney and Christian Wolanin.

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Colton Poolman (Calgary Flames) and Cole Smith (Nashville Predators) are restricted free agents who are likely to stay with their teams.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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