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Chris Brown, JT Brown, Matt Tennyson Latest Early Departures

Add three more players to the impressive list of college players leaving early to sign NHL contracts.

Perhaps the top free agent in college hockey, Minnesota-Duluth's JT Brown chose to sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown had interest from pretty much every NHL team. He had narrowed his list down to Tampa, Philadelphia, or Boston, with perhaps the deciding factor being that the Lightning will allow Brown to step into their NHL lineup almost immediately. It's good news for Brown, but a tough break for Duluth in that they'll have to replace their top three scorers from this past season, who accounted for 30% of the team's goals, and because it opens up the possibility of the UMD student section dropping the N-word next season.

Western Michigan defenseman Matt Tennyson signed a free agent deal with the San Jose Sharks. Free agent teammate Dan DeKeyser drew most of the press this year, but Tennyson also had a very solid year, and playing alongside a player like DeKeyser who brought scouts into the building every game certainly had to help. Tennyson is an alum of the San Jose Jr. Sharks youth hockey program, and it's nice programs in non-traditional hockey areas feed the local pro team.

Michigan lost junior forward Chris Brown to the Phoenix Coyotes. Brown had a respectable, but not overwhelming offensive output this year, but as a big power forward, can contribute in a lot of different ways, and was likely ready for the next level.

A few seniors have also signed NHL deals.

Michigan senior goalie Shawn Hunwick continued one of the most improbable hockey stories ever when he was called up by the Columbus Blue Jackets to dress in a game after starting Columbus goalie Chris Mason was hit in the head with a puck. Hunwick will finish the season with Columbus and was offered a contract by the team.

Minnesota-Duluth senior defenseman Brady Lamb signed a deal with his hometown Calgary Flames, after a very solid career with the Bulldogs. Also, I missed this earlier, but UMD senior forward Travis Oleksuk, who really broke out in his final two years with the Bulldogs signed a contract with the San Jose Sharks.