North Dakota junior defenseman Paul LaDue has signed a one-year entry-level contract with the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings had drafted LaDue in the sixth round 181st overall in the 2012 NHL Draft.
LaDue was a steady defensive presence for North Dakota that played a key role in leading the Fighting Hawks to a national championship. He also contributed 5-14-19 in 41 games this season.
We ranked LaDue as the 43rd-best NHL prospect in the NCAA this past season:
The King were extremely interested in signing LaDue last summer, but he opted to return to Grand Forks for his junior season. LaDue isn't flashy, but he's a tremendously strong defensive defenseman. He has one of the best sticks in the college game, which he uses to take away passing lanes and break up scoring opportunities. He's a tough presence in front of his own net as well. He doesn't project to score much at the pro level, but would be an extremely reliable bottom pairing-type defenseman.
LaDue is the third North Dakota defenseman to sign early this summer, joining Troy Stecher and Keaton Thompson.