The Colorado Eagles have added forward Brett Stapley to an AHL two-way contract for the 2023–24 season.
Stapley, 24, spent four years at Denver University, scoring 43 points (18 goals, 25 assists) as a senior and helping the Pioneers to their ninth national championship in program history.
1st goal of the Frozen Four goes to @DU_Hockey's BRETT STAPLEY!!!
— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) April 7, 2022
The DU product was originally drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the seventh round, 190th overall, in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, and signed a one-year AHL contract last summer.
Stapley spent the entire 2022–23 season with the ECHL’s Trois-Rivières Lions, scoring 52 points (11 goals, 41 assists) in 57 games.
Prior to DU, the Campbell River, British Columbia, native was with the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL for three seasons, notably potting 59 points (27 goals, 32 assists) in 52 games in 2017–18.
The 24-year-old is the latest older college player to join the Eagles after the organization recently added Ben Meyers, Jason Polin, Ondrej Pavel and Sam Malinski as undrafted free agent signings over the last two years. The Eagles also brought in veteran Tanner Kero for the upcoming season, providing the team with plenty of experience and guidance to mentor the younger players coming in.
Stapley is a player who does most of his damage below the dots. He does not have the hardest of shots, but he has a deceptive release that works well for him. While he is on the smaller side, Stapley does not shy away from contact in the defensive zone to separate his man from the puck. He can get knocked off the puck fairly carrying it up along the side walls.
He is by no means the fastest skater on the ice, but Stapley exhibits excellent strength and puckhandling when navigating through traffic maintaining possession of the puck.
Brett Stapley has reached another level this season in Denver. He may be the most dangerous offensive player in college right now – his puck skills and vision are really impressive. I will be posting some offensive highlights from this weekend on Recrutes later today. pic.twitter.com/2RqcGTF5lI
— Grant McCagg (@grantmccagg) January 2, 2022
Stapley is a guy the Eagles can use in all situations.
On the power play, he has been utilized both in the bumper role and as the skater responsible for a controlled zone entry on the drop pass. He uses his body well to shield defenders, with the ability to skate the puck in to the net or find a trailing teammate for a quality scoring chance.
On the penalty kill, Stapley is relentless on the forecheck and will often be the first skater to greet the opposition as they enter the offensive zone. He utilizes an active stick to take away passing lanes or disrupting plays as they are being set up.
Again, he is not the quickest guy on the ice, but Stapley is a smart hockey player who won 52% of his face-offs in four seasons at DU.