Though Matt Lorito ’15 did not end his last season for the men’s hockey team as he had hoped, he is starting his post-Brown hockey career on a better note.
The senior signed an amateur tryout agreement with the AHL’s Albany Devils, the minor league affiliate for the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. Albany was not the only team that reached out to Lorito — eight other NHL team representatives contacted him, including the Washington Capitals and the Nashville Predators, he said.
“I knew (the Devils) had interest in me from the summer when I was invited to attend their rookie development camp,” he said.
Not only did he sign an ATO, but he also has a contract in place for the next season in the AHL. The ATO allows him to join the team for the remainder of this season — which is almost over — and the AHL contract allows him to play his first full season for the club next year. Players in the AHL are committed to their teams’ NHL affiliates and could be called up to the top level at any point in the season.
“Of course I want to play in the NHL, but right now I’m focused on trying to become one of the best players in the (AHL), and we’ll see what happens from there,” Lorito said.
It is rare that AHL players contribute in the NHL right away, but a few cases exist, such as Bruins starlet David Pastrnak, who was called up to the Boston Bruins via the Providence Bruins just two months after beginning his stint in the AHL and has emerged as one of the top contenders for the Calder Trophy, given annually to the NHL’s best rookie.
Lorito burst onto the scene as a sophomore, registering 37 points to lead a team that made a postseason run to the ECAC championship game. During his junior year, he finished third on the team with 29 points, behind linemates Mark Naclerio ’16 and Nick Lappin ’16. He returned to the top of the stat sheet this year as the only Bear with double-digit goals and assists.
“My time at Brown was amazing,” Lorito said. “They have all the facilities you need to become the best player you can. Playing in the ECAC was also great for my development. It’s a very tough league top to bottom, and there are no nights off. I think that’s important with the condensed college schedule.”
Named captain his senior year, Lorito has been a team leader for the Bears his entire time in Providence, especially during his junior and senior years. Harvard coach Ted Donato raved about Lorito’s talent after the playoff series between the Crimson and the Bears, as did Quinnipiac’s Rand Pecknold after Bruno’s 5-3 loss to the Bobcats.
“Matt Lorito is a special player — we’re really going to miss him,” said Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94 after Brown was eliminated from this year’s ECAC tournament. “He’s good offensively, he’s a great leader and he’s going to go down as one of the best players in a long time to wear the uniform.”