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Luke Kunin Signs with Minnesota Wild

United States v Canada - Gold Medal Game - 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Wisconsin sophomore forward Luke Kunin has signed with the Minnesota Wild, forgoing the final two years of collegiate eligibility. Kunin was selected in the first round of last year’s NHL Draft, 16th overall by the Wild.

Kunin, who will ranked 8th overall on our list of the top 100 NHL prospects in the NCAA, put together two excellent seasons at the University of Wisconsin. As a freshman, he led the team by tallying 19 goals—out of a team total of 93, meaning he scored one out of every five goals for the Badgers last year—and followed it up with 22 goals as a sophomore.

Kunin is a crafty forward that makes up for the fact that he doesn’t have elite speed by being very smart positionally, and having a deadly shot when given room to get it off. He’s also a strong 200-foot player that is good on both sides of the puck, and is praised for his leadership abilities. He served as Wisconsin’s team captain this past season.

When asked about the possibility of Kunin leaving earlier this week, his head coach at Wisconsin, Tony Granato, had this to say:

In addition to his individual success at Wisconsin, Kunin also captained the US World Juniors team to a gold medal at this year’s IIHF World U20 tournament in Canada.

His three-year entry-level contract will begin next season, and Kunin will report to the Wild’s AHL affiliate in Iowa for the duration of this season.