Michigan State forward Corey Tropp has given up his senior season for a contract with the Buffalo Sabres.
Tropp was perhaps the comeback player of the year in college hockey this year, rebounding from a nightmarish sophomore season that came to a disturbing end when he tried to guillotine Steve Kampfer. He was reinstated to the team for his junior season, and came back with an impressive 20 goal and 22 assist campaign.
Michigan State has now lost three of their top four scorers to early departure this offseason--Jeff Petry to Edmonton, Andrew Rowe to Philly, and now Tropp to Buffalo--but Tropp's departure may hit hardest of all. I'm far from a hockey stathead, but it's not too hard to start drawing conclusions when you look at the first half of Michigan State's season last year and see that Tropp had 17 goals while the Spartans went 14-6-2, and then look at their team post-GLI and see that Tropp only scored 3 goals, while Michigan State went 5-7-4 and blew what looked like a sure bid to the NCAA tournament.
Meanwhile, leading returning scorer Derek Grant had an impressive 30-point freshman compaign, but only had eight points in which Tropp wasn't also involved in the scoring. It will certainly take quite an effort from some of the younger Spartan forwards to make up for Tropp's absence, especially since Michigan State has looked particularly miserable over the past two years when Tropp wasn't producing scoring.