White Rock defenceman Devante Stephens is coming home – or as close as he can get, anyhow.
The 24-year pro hockey player, who has spent time in both the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning organizations since being drafted into the National Hockey League in 2015, agreed Wednesday – the first day of NHL free agency – to a two-way contract with the Vancouver Canucks that will pay him $750,000 at the NHL level, or $150,000 if he is in the American Hockey League with the Abbotsford Canucks.
Drafted by the Sabres in the fifth round of the 2015 draft, Stephens has spent the last two seasons in the Tampa Bay organization following a 2019 trade. He’s yet to play a game in the NHL, however, having played with both organizations’ AHL teams, in Rochester and Syracuse, respectively. In the 2020-‘21 season, he also played 16 with the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL, which is one rung below the AHL.
Before being drafted by the Sabres, Stephens spent three seasons in the Western Hockey League with the Kelowna Rockets, winning a league title with the team in 2015.
Stephens wasn’t the only B.C.-born player the Canucks signed Wednesday with an eye toward stocking their new Abbotsford farm team. In addition to the White Rock-born Stephens, the club also signed defencemen Brad Hunt (Maple Ridge), Kyle Burroughs (Langley) and forward Nic Petan (Delta).
Earlier Wednesday, another local product – Cloverdale goaltender Laurent Brossoit – signed a two-year contract with the Vegas Golden Knights.