College Hockey:
Schmidt gives up senior year with Minnesota, says deal with Capitals is ‘right decision’

Minnesota junior defenseman Nate Schmidt has signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals, forgoing his senior season with the Gophers.

“I wouldn’t trade my experience at the University of Minnesota for anything and I am incredibly grateful to the team and staff for three great seasons at the ‘U,’ Schmidt said in a news release. “This wasn’t an easy decision to make, but it is the right decision and I am looking forward to beginning the next chapter of my playing career.”

In 96 career games at Minnesota, Schmidt tallied 74 points and 12 goals as a two-time All-WCHA defenseman.

This past season, Schmidt recorded nine goals and 32 points, good for third in all of NCAA Division I defensemen scoring.

“Nate is a great example of someone who was overlooked in the draft, but worked hard on and off the ice to put himself in great position to become our top defenseman the last two years,” Gophers’ coach Don Lucia added. “He had two tremendous years and felt he was ready to take his game to the next level. He has a great opportunity with Washington and I want to wish him the best as he turns pro and thank him for his contributions to Gopher hockey.”

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  • jmsptrk

    shocker. says no one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/justin.anderson.520 Justin Anderson

    Let the domino’s fall….Bjukstad, Haula, Budish, Condon?, Rau?

    • patrickolson

      Condon and Rau are doubtful imo. Haula, Bjugstad, Budish (even though he said he is saying) are locks imo as well.

      • ExiledGopher

        Agree with condon and rau…hoping Budish stays one more year. Haula had a great year and should probably cash in, and to be honest, Bjugstad seemed to disappear as the year went on (except for power plays).

        Wish we can some bigger forwards coming in to replace these guys. We’d kill if we can find a league that has an under 5’9″ option.

        • patrickolson

          Looks like Budish has signed. Should be announced today. I agree that the Gophers have been lacking a grit/physical factor. Bjugstad looked like a glass ballerina out there.

  • jdhockeyboyz

    Here’s hoping that next year’s edition of the Gophers has more seniors than the present, one. I doubt that this is the last early departure notice from Dinkytown this Spring.

  • MikeE

    Hearing through the grapevine that Budish signed as well with Nashville.

  • Jim Bleth

    Next year is going to be a long year for the Gophers. If all those players leave, we will be missing some serious upperclassmen leadership.. Only saving grace may be we will be playing in the Big 10 conference.

  • yawn4413

    If, after their performance(s) against CC and Yale, those who leave believe they are ready for the ” next step”, I disagree.

    • patrickolson

      He is un-drafted and had an *overall* quality season. The smart decision is for him to sign a contract.

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