The Vancouver Canucks have signed free-agent defenceman Akito Hirose to a one-year, entry-level contract, the team announced Wednesday.
Hirose, 23, had four goals and 23 assists in 38 games with Minnesota State University this season, his third in the NCAA.
The six-foot, 170-pound college standout from Calgary had two goals and 24 assists in 38 games with Minnesota State last season.
Hirose’s older brother, Taro, has played 58 National Hockey League games after signing with the Detroit Red Wings out of college in 2019.
“As we continue to look at ways to improve the depth of our organization, signing a defenceman with this type of skillset is an important move for our hockey club,” said Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin in a press release. “Akito is a strong skater and he has put up impressive numbers on both sides of the ice in the NCAA and BCHL.
“We feel that our coaches and development team will provide him with the help and support he needs to start his pro career off in the right way.”
The move is the Canucks’ latest college free-agent signing after the club signed Western Michigan University centre Max Sasson to an entry-level deal on Sunday.
Sasson, 22, had 42 points in 38 games in his sophomore season in the NCAA.