Penn State blueliner Hults exits after junior season, signs NHL deal with Los Angeles

LOWELL, MA - NOVEMBER 30: Cole Hults #2 of the Penn State Nittany Lions skates against the Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks during NCAA men's hockey at the Tsongas Center on November 30, 2019 in Lowell, Massachusetts. The River Hawks won 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/USCHO) (Rich Gagnon)
Cole Hults played in 111 straight games in his three years at Penn State (photo: Rich Gagnon).

Penn State junior defenseman Cole Hults will forgo his senior season with the Nittany Lions after agreeing to terms on a two-year, entry-level deal with the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday afternoon.

Hults was originally drafted by the Kings in the fifth round (134th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft.

“Cole is the highest performing low risk, low maintenance player I’ve ever had the privilege of coaching,” Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky said in a statement. “He is so efficient in everything he does. We are extremely happy for Hultsy and wish him all the success at the next level.”

A finalist for both the Big Ten Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, Hults tied the Penn State single-season record for points by a defenseman with a career-best 30 this past season (eight goals, 22 assists), a mark good for first in the Big Ten by blueliners and tenth nationally among defensemen.

The native of Stoughton, Wis., didn’t miss a single game since stepping foot on campus in the fall of 2017, playing in 111 consecutive games.

“Penn State has engraved a special place in my heart, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a Nittany Lion,” said Hults. “I’ve built friendships that will last a lifetime and have become a better player and person during my time in Hockey Valley. This is such a special place that I will forever call home and I couldn’t think of a better spot to have spent my collegiate career. We are.”