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College Hockey:
Denver loses another as Zucker signs with Wild

The Minnesota Wild has signed Denver sophomore forward Jason Zucker to a three-year entry-level contract.

Denver has now lost two underclassmen this week as junior forward Drew Shore signed with the Florida Panthers earlier Tuesday.

Zucker, taken by Minnesota in the second round (59th overall) of the 2010 NHL draft, is expected to join the Wild on Thursday as the team hosts the Florida Panthers.

“After two successful seasons at the University of Denver, Jason, his representation, and Wild management have agreed that it was the right time for Jason to turn pro,” Wild assistant GM Brent Flahr said in a statement. “He has achieved great personal success in a short period of time at both the collegiate and national team levels.

“We are very excited to have Jason under contract and look forward to seeing his development within the Wild organization.”

“I’m very excited to turn pro and sign with Minnesota,” Zucker added. “I loved every second of my two years at Denver and I’m anxious to begin the next chapter of my hockey career.”

Zucker scored 22 goals and added 24 assists for 46 points this season with the Pioneers and also captained the United States at the 2012 World Junior Championship.

As a freshman, Zucker registered 45 points and was named the WCHA freshman of the year.


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  • Damon96_05

    And another one gone, and another one gone … Good luck to him, even though I hate to see kids leaving college early. Just a fact of life nowadays, however.

    • http://twitter.com/letchcj Curtis Letch

      I’ve seen Zucker play in person in two Wild games including last night.  (He had 2 assists).    Even though he had 2 points last night, I definitely don’t think he is ready for the NHL.  He seem to be a touch slower and looks a little lost at to where he should be on the ice.  Plus he still looks like he need mature a bit physically.

  • collegehockeyfan

    Saw this coming, thought he would have left after last year though to be honest!  Too bad, Denver is working themselves into not even being a WCHA factor next year.

    • Siouxbetcha

      That’s what everyone thought about UND when they lost 70% of their scoring from last years team.  Good programs always find a way to compete.

      • collegehockeyfan

        Yeah the Sioux also had Kristo, Knight, Nelson coming back, but this season I also had the Sioux not making a home playoff series preseason, shows it can happen your absolutely right.

        • Scpa0305

          Yeah….way wrong.  The Sioux had one of the best incoming freshman classes in the nation….before injuries and NCAA issues.

          • SIOUXFAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

             true

          • collegehockeyfan

            Freshman don’t always turn out what they are cracked up to be.  Luckily the Sioux turned out a great class this year, and with Grimaldi coming back, should be fun to watch. 

      • Kroger

        I completely agree. Their D could still be very potent as well as their goaltending tandem. I still think they’ll get home ice next year. I think the WCHA will be a little down next year.

    • DU_Fan

      I think we will be OK on the defensive side. We might have 2 of the best goaltenders in the nation next year. If Sam Brittain stays healthy, and Juho Olkinuora continues his improvement after getting “thrown into the fire” this year we should hold teams close. This is not even discussing Adam Murray, who certainly it no slouch. It will be interesting to see the “newest” Shore play with his brother Nick. Also, having Bennett and Makowski healthy will help us on the offense.

  • jmsptrk

    Even with some good young kids, DU could be hurting next year.

  • Scpa0305

    Saw this coming for a while.  Fans shouldn’t be mad at all….teams know taking a kid with the talent of Zucker is only going to give them 1 or 2 years (3 years max).  Denver will be alright, they got more kids coming up.

  • Suture

    I don’t know, DU has lost some awefully good players the past 3-4 years.  What boggles my mind is how they keep getting these blue-chip defensemen by the droves!  How come the Sioux don’t recruit some of these kids….they can’t ALL want to go to Denver..??  I’m not complaining about our D….but come on, I could list 4 DU defensemen that went to the pros after 1-2 years (several years in a row now) that were flat out studs. I don’t know what position Shore plays…I think he is a forward..?  Anyway, teams like DU, UND, MN, etc….lose kids like this, it’s a double edged sword I guess.  I really think there is something to having a team where you have good senior leadership.  Most of the eastern schools don’t lose kids like we do and they seem to be winning quite a bit. It was nice to see a Sioux team with a decent number of Sr’s last year even if they all were not all stars.  Just mho…..:)

    • DU_Fan

      Shore is a center, very good on face-offs too.Bad thing about recruiting top players is that you know they will not stick around for 4 years. Sometimes being “undrafted” is actually better because you can bargain with a lot of pro teams.

    • WCHA Fan

      This is the exact reason why teams like Ferris State, Bemidji State and the like have the opportunity to make Frozen Fours…   There is no question that the Michigans, Minnesotas, and Denvers of the world have a better crack at recruiting the blue chippers, but people often forget the benefit of having seasoned veteran players that have played 3-4 years with linemates and have gelled together.  Love to see it.  (The smaller programs succeed)  Got to be frustrating for DU fans though.

  • Mike

    Hoping he brings some speed and scoring to the Wild!!!

    • GoldyTheGreat

      Can’t wait to see this kid in a Wild jersey. Maybe on a line with Heatley or Setoguchi? 

      • Mike

        He could be the speedy compliment to Heater that we wanted Seto to be. Personally, I hope he at least gives Seto a little competition. Seems like that guy needs a little motivation sometimes… Lots of kids coming into camp next season, very exciting!

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