Former Vernon Viper Odeen Tufto signed an entry-level deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League Wednesday, March 31, 2021. (BCHL photo)

Former Vernon Viper Odeen Tufto signed an entry-level deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League Wednesday, March 31, 2021. (BCHL photo)

Former Vernon Viper signs NHL contract with Tampa Bay Lightning

Odeen Tufto has been assigned to Syracuse, the Lightning’s AHL farm team

A former Vernon Viper who put up gaudy numbers in college has now signed a contract with the reigning Stanley Cup champions.

Odeen Tufto, captain of Quinnipiac University Bobcats, has signed an entry-level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League (NHL).

The undrafted forward will report to the Syracuse Crunch of the pro-level American Hockey League — the feeder league to the NHL.

Tufto spent his 2015-16 season in the B.C. Hockey League with the Vipers, where he led the team with 25 goals, 40 assists and 65 points.

He put up at least 38 points in all four of his college seasons, but his senior year was his most impressive; he finished the 2021 season second in scoring in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), was named the eastern conference’s hockey player of the year and was a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the best player in college hockey.

He finished his college career with 168 points in 139 games.

Tufto, 24, will now have to battle his way up an NHL depth chart. However, he could have a better chance of cracking the Lightning roster as Tampa Bay has a thinner prospect pool than most other teams given their recent regular-season success, which has led to fewer high draft picks.

READ MORE: Former Vernon Viper a finalist for top college hockey award

READ MORE: Vernon Vipers name leadership group for BCHL Pod Season

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

hockeyVernon Vipers

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A sani-dump station is coming to the frontage road off Okanagan Landing Road. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
New Vernon sani-dump station raises a stink among neighbours

Temporary relocation to Okanagan Landing with future plan at former Kin racetrack

The Wild Oak Cafe in Armstrong is one of the available squares in the Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce's Bingo game to support local businesses. (Facebook)
Bingo boosts Armstrong eateries

Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber launches #BoostOurBiz featuring bingo card which would win you prizes

Vernon Fire Rescue Services will conduct a controlled burn in the Foothills area Friday, April 16. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATED: Controlled Foothills burn cancelled

Vernon Fire Rescue Services had planned for a controlled burn in Foothills on Friday, April 16

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP are looking for the rightful owners of two standup paddleboards seized in an investigation March 19, 2021. (RCMP)
Is this your SUP?: Vernon police

Two standup paddleboards seized by police to be returned

Vernon’s Allan Brooks Nature Centre opens for its 21st season Saturday, April 17. (ABNC photo)
New season set to bloom at Vernon nature centre

The Allan Brooks Nature Centre on Commonage Road celebrates its 21st season in 2021

Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Health Canada releases guidelines for reducing COVID-19 transmission at home

Improve indoor air quality by opening up your windows and doors, among other ventilation measures

Hikers are still able to climb to the top of Giant’s Head Mountain in Summerland, but the paved road to the upper parking lot will be closed from 7 a.m. to noon and all day on Sundays. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland park partially closed to vehicle traffic

Giant’s Head Mountain Park gates will be closed to cars until noon

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Young cyclists from Quebec have not been riding single file on Naramata’s narrow and windy roads, causing the ire of locals worried for their safety and theirs. (Dan Moskaluk)
Quebec cyclists bad road behaviour causing stir in Penticton

The young cycling group illegally riding two-abreast on Naramata’s narrow roads

MP Todd Doherty took to Facebook after his family recently received threats. (Todd Doherty, MP Facebook photo)
‘I don’t run and I don’t hide’: Cariboo MP says RCMP probing threats made against family

Todd Doherty has also notified House of Commons Protective Services

Two men walk past a sign on Main Street in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calls for government transparency in COVID data continue as B.C.’s 3rd wave wears on

Social media, where both information and misinformation can spread like wildfire, has not helped

The music video for “Green and Blue” featured a Willington Care Centre in Burnaby as well as some of the volunteers and employees. (Screenshot/Todd Richard)
‘Green and Blue’: B.C. country musician releases tribute song for front-line workers

Richard’s new single has been viewed more than 3,000 times on his YouTube channel

An unidentified B.C. man said, in a human rights complaint, that he was refused a contract job after refusing to wear a mask when asked to by an on-site manager. (Unsplash)
Religious B.C. man lodges human rights complaint after fired for refusing to wear a mask

Worker’s claim that ‘to cover up our face infringes on our God-given ability to breathe’ dismissed by B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

Most Read