Michigan defenseman Jeff Jillson has decided to forego his senior season, and sign a contract with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. Jillson, an All-American and two-time All-CCHA performer, was the 14th overall pick of the Sharks in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.
“There were a mixture of reasons, but I just felt that the timing was right,” said Jillson to the Ann Arbor (Mich.) News. “I just felt more confident about this now than I did last year. Leaving last year would’ve been a mistake.”
Jillson was fifth on the Wolverines, and first among defensemen, in points this past season with 29. For his collegiate career, Jillson, a native of North Smithfield, R.I., compiled 88 points.
“Hockey-wise, this was a decision driven by San Jose and the hockey community, too,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson to the Ann Arbor News. “Everyone has always given him the advice that he should go. That started after his freshman year.”
The status of the team’s top scorer, Hobey Baker Award finalist Andy Hilbert, remains in doubt. Hilbert, who has two years of eligibility left, is said to be considering signing with the Boston Bruins.
The Wolverines have four incoming freshmen defensemen in this year’s recruiting class.