Stingrays sign D’Agostino

The Stingrays signed defenseman Nick D'Agostino on Monday. D'Agostino was a 7th-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008.

Sometimes in recruiting it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Considered an elite, two-way defenseman at the ECHL level, nearly every team in the league was after Nick D’Agostino when he came onto the free agent market this summer.

But the South Carolina Stingrays had a connection to D’Agostino on a personal level that few teams could match.

D’Agostino had played with Stingrays forward Joe Devin for two season at Cornell University. D’Agostino, 25, signed with the Stingrays on Tuesday, the team announced.

“When I found out I was free to sign with anyone, Joe Devin gave me a call,” D’Agostino said. “They were looking for a defenseman. Joe spoke highly of the organization, and after talking with the coaching staff, I was the type of player they were looking for and it seemed like a good fit.”

South Carolina coach Spencer Carbery said the Stingrays were fortunate to land the highly recruited defenseman.

“He’s a top-end defenseman in this league that can play in all three zones,” Carbery said. “He can move the puck, he can captain your power play, he’s very good defensively and Stingray fans are going to see a lot of him on the ice. He’ll play 25-to-30 minutes every night. I think every team in the league was after him, so this was a huge signing for us. Joe Devin really helped us out with getting Nick. Having that connection with Joe helped open the door for us.”

D’Agostino spent the last two seasons in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. The 6-2, 180-pound defenseman split time between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League and the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers.

During the 2014-2015 campaign, D’Agostino appeared in 50 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, notching 10 points (0 goals, 10 assists). He also added four points (one goal, three assists) in five games with Wheeling.

“I have heard nothing but good things about the Stingrays organization,” said D’Agostino. “In college, I would have considered myself more of an offensive defenseman. However, once I got to pro hockey, I became more of an all-around defenseman, and I’ll bring that to South Carolina.”

The Bolton, Ontario, native was selected in the seventh round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by Pittsburgh and turned pro after skating at Cornell University for four seasons. With the Big Red, D’Agostino played in 132 career games, scoring 72 points (25 goals, 47 assists) from the blue line. He was the captain of the team his senior season.

D’Agostino will attend training camp with the Hershey Bears, the Stingrays’ AHL affiliate.