Defenseman Jack Dougherty has left Wisconsin after just one season with the Badgers to sign a contract with the Nashville Predators. Dougherty was selected by the Predators in the second round, 51st overall at the 2014 NHL Draft.
Dougherty scored two goals and seven assists for nine points in his only season in Madison. He also finished with a -25 +/- rating, which is more a reflection of how much ice time he was seeing on an all-around awful team than a reflection of his play personally. He was among the last players cut from last year's US World Juniors team and is a strong candidate to play for Team USA at next year's World Juniors.
Dougherty ranked 77th on our list of the top 100 NHL prospects in the NCAA last season. Here's what we said about the rookie defenseman:
Dougherty's combination of size and puckhandling ability makes him a very versatile prospect. It's been a bit of a tough adjustment to the college hockey game this season, especially on a Wisconsin team that has been bad this year. But as Dougherty matures along with the rest of his team, he should develop into a reliable, talented all-around player.
Because he played NCAA hockey last season, Dougherty would be eligible to play in the American Hockey League next season if he doesn't make the Predators, or he could play for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, who currently hold his rights.