Rumored to be nearing an NHL return this summer, former Merrimack forward Stephane Da Costa signed with Genève-Servette HC in the Swiss National League over the weekend.
The National League is one of the top leagues in Europe. Several NHL players have come through the league, including playing there during the lockout. Former first-overall pick Auston Matthews played in the league in his final season before his draft year.
“I am very happy to join Geneva-Servette,” Da Costa said. “It is a great club with good organization. My ambitions are the same as everywhere I go: I do not like to lose and I want to do everything to help the team to be as successful as possible. ”
Da Costa, 28, was rumored to be negotiating with the Montreal Canadiens this summer before suffering an injury in training.
Last season with CSKA Moscow, Da Costa scored nine goals and added 11 assists in 24 games. He exploded during the World Championships, playing for his native France, when he was one of the leading scorers for the tournament with six goals and four assists in six games.
According to the team’s website, Da Costa will begin practicing with his new team this week.
“Stéphane is an elite striker,” said head coach Craig Woodcroft. “He knows how to score, create opportunities for his teammates and, above all, he is extremely competitive. Stéphane will certainly help us to raise our level of play. We are very happy that he is joining us.”
Added Genève-Servette HC GM Chris McSorley, “We have been following Stephane for several years. He will fit perfectly into the group. Stéphane is one of the most talented players in Europe and he represents exactly what we needed to get through the game.”