Two days after his junior season came to an end in the Big Ten championship game, University of Minnesota forward Hudson Fasching has signed an entry-level contract with the Buffalo Sabres.
Finishing with 38 points (20G-18A) in 37 games, Fasching will forgo his senior season of eligibility.
"I wouldn't trade my experience at the University of Minnesota for anything," Fasching said in a statement released by the University. "While I'm excited for the next phase of my hockey career with the Buffalo Sabres, I will always be proud of what we accomplished in my three years here. I have so many great memories as a Gopher, and I want to thank my teammates, the staff and our fans for such a wonderful opportunity."
One of the younger players for his age group, Fasching, a 6'2", 207 lbs right wing, combined his size and skills to his advantage this season in ways that had previously been missing as a power forward. The Burnsville, MN native ended up in front of the net and scoring close second effort and rebound goals to go with his shooting touch. He also was able to create offense by himself or skating to set up with center Tommy Novak and whoever played on his left wing.
Playing in all situations, Fasching scored three shorthanded goals this season. He was one of Minnesota's best PKers, comprising its first PK unit with Justin Kloos. Five times this year he had two goals. Twice Fasching ended overtime games by lighting the lamp.
"Hudson came into our program as a tremendous young man, and he leaves an even better one," said Minnesota head coach Don Lucia "It has been incredibly rewarding to watch Hudson develop into an NHL-ready player while earning his degree over the last three years. We are proud of the way he has represented our program and our school, and we wish him the absolute best in his pro career."
Fasching was chosen in the fourth round (118th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft by the Los Angeles Kings. Buffalo traded for his NHL rights in March 2014 as part of a trade that sent Brayden McNabb to LA.
Despite turning professional, Fasching is on track to graduate college in three years. He is SB Nation College Hockey's #24 NHL prospect playing college hockey this season.
"Hudson showed us the kind of player he can be during his college career and we are pleased to sign him," Buffalo GM Tim Murray said in a statement released by the Sabres. "We believe he has the potential to be an effective NHL player and wanted to bring him in as soon as possible."
Fasching finishes with 94 points in 115 career games. He won three consecutive Big Ten regular season championships, claiming the 2015 Big Ten conference tournament championship, made two NCAA Tournament appearances, reaching the 2014 national championship game. Internationally, Fasching was a member of the 2014 and 2015 U-20 WJC United States roster.
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation mostly covering both the University of Minnesota and Big Ten. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate