While the current University of Minnesota freshmen have been front and center through the first eight games of the season, the next wave of players made some noise Wednesday. One Gopher recruit officially signed a National Letter of Intent with 3 more expected to in the coming days.
Former Minnetonka (HS-MN) and current Omaha Lancer (USHL) defenseman Steve Johnson, who committed to Minnesota in October, is the only player whose NLI was received by the University according to a Minnesota spokesperson. Johnson, playing in all situations for the Lancers, currently has 7 assists and is +10 in 11 games. The 19 year-old was a member of the Team USA squad that won the World Junior A Challenge Gold Medal last week in Nova Scotia.
Today (November 13) was the first day of the National Letter of Intent's early signing period for college hockey. Players can sign until November 20th. After that, date they have to wait until April 16, 2014.
A letter of intent is a binding agreement that a player entering his senior year of high school (or beyond) signs. It signifies that the player will officially attend the school. The letter of intent also ends recruitment and solidifies a verbal commitment, which can change at any time.
Players not scheduled to come in the next season normally do not sign a NLI, however, signing one this year does not guarantee that a player will play college hockey in 2014-15.
Besides Johnson, Minnesota sent out three other letters of intent. That includes Johnson's Minnetonka teammate Jack Ramsey, a forward currently playing for the Penticton Vees (BCHL), and USNDTP defensemen Jack Glover and Ryan Collins. Although Glover and Collins (in a tweet since deleted) both signed NLIs, but the University has yet to receive theirs as of Wednesday evening.
Collins and Glover are expected to join the Gophers in 2014-15.
The 6'3", 185 lbs Glover is a Golden Valley, MN native who was ranked 22nd by ISS for the 2014 NHL Draft last month. He played in the All American Prospects Game back in September along with Collins and Ramsey.
More from SBN College Hockey:
- Gophers Hockey: Historically, how good have the Minnesota freshmen been through 8 games?
- Big Ten 3 Stars: Ohio State's Tanner Fritz and Max McCormick take top two spots
- NCHC Week 5 Round-Up: Stars, Highlights, and Thoughts
- Breaking Down Johnny Gaudreau's Amazing Assist
- College Hockey Rankings Round-Up
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Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation and College Hockey News. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate