Penguins sign NCAA's top scorer; Flyers pursuing Union forwards?

The rich got richer Tuesday.

That would be the Flyers’ chief rival, the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Penguins signed college free agent forward Zach Aston-Reese — a Northeastern standout who led the NCAA in goals (31) and points (63) in 38 games this season — to a two-year, entry-level contract that will start with the 2017-18 campaign.

A native of Staten Island who plays with an edge, Aston-Reese, 22, will report to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the AHL this weekend and will play on an amateur-tryout contract the rest of the season.

The 6-foot, 180-pound Aston-Reese recently completed a successful four-year career at Northeastern, where he collected 148 points in 145 games. He also spent three years in the USHL.

The Flyers are believed to be one of 15 NHL teams that wanted to sign Aston- Reese.

Junior winger Spencer Foo (6-0, 180) and senior center Mike Vecchione (5-10, 195), high-scoring forwards from the same school that produced Shayne Gostisbehere — Union College — are free agents who could be on the Flyers’ radar. They cannot sign until Union’s season is over. The Dutchmen are in Friday’s ECAC Hockey semifinals against Cornell.

In 36 games, Vecchione has 29 goals and 62 points, while Foo has 24 goals and 59 points. Both are honor students.  On Wednesday, both could be named finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given to the nation's top college player.

Vecchione, a two-time Union captain, is a strong candidate to win the award. The Flyers are high on him because he attended their developmental camp last summer.

As a freshman in 2014, Vecchione was teammates with Gostisbehere on the Union team that won the NCAA national championship.

By the way, Foo may decide to stay at Union for one more year because his brother, Parker, will attend the school in the fall and play hockey.

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