Tufto, DiLiberatore ink NHL contracts with Tampa Bay, Vegas


Photo: Liz Flynn

Clever Streich and Gage Kilborne

From ECAC Hockey to the NHL, two high-profile Bobcats are making the jump to the pros.

On March 29 & 31 respectively, Peter DiLiberatore and Odeen Tufto signed NHL entry level contracts with the Vegas Golden Knights and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In their final game for Quinnipiac, Tufto and DiLiberatore each made an impact at the NCAA West Regional Semifinals in Loveland, Colorado against Minnesota State, as they both registered a goal in the Bobcats’ 4-3 OT loss.

Tufto, a college free agent who went undrafted, has been signed to a one-year, amateur try-out contract with Tampa Bay, where he will report to the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch to begin his professional career.

The former Bobcats captain finished second in NCAA scoring this year with 47 points and was named as one of the final ten Hobey Baker Award finalists, which is given to the best collegiate player in Division I hockey.

Tufto will now transition his game from the collegiate to the pro level in order to attempt to crack the roster of the reigning Stanley Cup Champions.

DiLiberatore, who was selected by the Golden Knights in the sixth round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, was inked to his three-year entry-level contract with the team on Monday.

DiLiberatore departs the team after finishing his junior year with six goals and 14 assists for 20 points, ranking second amongst Bobcat defensemen.

During his time with Quinnipiac, DiLiberatore was also named to the 2018-19 ECAC Hockey Second Team and 2017-18 All-Rookie Team. DiLiberatore will look to make a huge statement on the blue line as he heads off to Sin City.

For the Bobcats, Tufto and DiLiberatore’s departures leave massive holes in head coach Rand Pecknold’s lineup.

Tufto finishes his Quinnipiac career as the program’s all-time assist leader with 122. He also ranks third all-time in career points with 160 since the program moved to Division I competition in 1998.

DiLiberatore finished his Quinnipiac career with 60 points in 101 games played.

Tufto and DiLibertatore absence from the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team will certainly be felt next year, as the Bobcats prepare for the upcoming 2021-22 campaign.