North Dakota redshirt sophomore forward Rocco Grimaldi signed a three-year entry level contract with the Florida Panthers on Wednesday. Grimaldi was a second round draft choice of the Panthers, 33rd overall in the 2011 NHL Draft.
Grimaldi led North Dakota in scoring this past season with a 17-22-39 scoring line in 42 games played. Grimaldi came in ranked 41st overall on our list of the Top 100 NHL Prospects in NCAA Hockey last season:
Grimaldi is one of the fastest, most tenacious competitors in all of college hockey. But generously listed at 5'6", his size continues to be a concern for those projecting him at the next level. Offensively, Grimaldi has averaged nearly a point-per-game in his sophomore season, leading North Dakota in scoring, but still converts on a relatively low percentage of the numerous scoring changes he generates.
Grimaldi was likely the last returning player from North Dakota's team to make a decision on pro hockey, after Michael Parks, Jordan Schmaltz, and Zane Gothberg all announced they would return to Grand Forks next season. The loss of Grimaldi's offense will be tough for North Dakota to replace, after the team struggled at times to find offense last season.