UMass Lowell sophomore defenseman Christian Folin has forgone his final two years of collegiate eligibility to sign with the Minnesota Wild, according to multiple sources. The hulking blue liner from Gothenburg, Sweden was one of the most highly coveted NCAA free agents this season.
Other teams that reportedly had a high interest level were the Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks.
Christian Folin likely to sign after season
For Christian Folin, it's more becoming a mattering of when and who, and not if. The 6-foot-3, 22-year-old defenseman for UMass Lowell is considered one of if not the top free agents in all of college hockey
A key bargaining chip for Folin and his agent was the desire for the NHL team that drafts him to let him burn a year off the entry-level contract this season. Folin will report to the Wild and play out the rest of the regular season, but he is ineligible for the playoffs.
Folin had six goals and 14 assists in 41 games played this season. He is a big, strong defenseman who is also mobile. He has a rocket for a shot and can play well in both zones.
Folin was ranked in SBNation College Hockey's Top 100 NHL Prospects Rankings from earlier this winter.
51. Christian Folin, Defense, UMass-Lowell (Free Agent)
There was widespread speculation that he was leaving Lowell after last season, but he returned for his sophomore campaign. He's got a rocket of a shot and plays Norm Bazin's puck possession style to perfection. He's getting better defensively, but should probably return to get a little more seasoning. He's an older college player so has less upside than some of the other defensemen on this list.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.