Wisconsin netminder Lebedeff, partly citing COVID-19 concerns, leaves Badgers, signs pro deal in native Finland

Daniel Lebedeff (Wisconsin-32) Nick Jones (North Dakota-8) 2018 November 3 The University of North Dakota hosts the Wisconsin Badgers in a non conference matchup at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, ND (Bradley K. Olson)
Wisconsin goalie Daniel Lebedeff looks for the puck as North Dakota’s Nick Jones tries to gain position in a Nov. 3, 2018 game at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D. (photo: Bradley K. Olson).

Wisconsin goaltender Daniel Lebedeff is leaving the Badgers after two seasons to sign a two-year pro contract with HPK Hämeenlinna in his native Finland.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Lebedeff said not knowing if there will be a 2020-21 college hockey season due to the COVID-19 pandemic played a role in making his decision.

“Coach (Tony Granato) gave me a chance to come back to fight for the position but coming back just didn’t feel right for me,” Lebedeff said in the article.

“For Daniel’s position, yeah, he could have found a way to be a No. 1 again,” Granato added. “But he wasn’t going to have the net like we gave it to him the last two years. It was going to be a competition.”

Last season, Lebedeff went 12-14-0 with a 3.56 GAA, a .892 save percentage and one shutout. In 2018-19, he fashioned an 11-12-2 mark with a 3.42 GAA, .893 save percentage and a shutout.