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North Dakota's Nick Schmaltz signs with Chicago Blackhawks

Schmaltz is the fifth Fighting Hawks player to leave the defending national champion with eligibility remaining.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

North Dakota forward Nick Schmaltz has signed a pro contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Schmaltz, a 2014 first round draft pick (20th overall), will forego his final two seasons of collegiate eligibility with the Fighting Hawks. Chicago made room this week for him on the roster after trading Teuvo Teravainen to Carolina.

Playing on the "CBS" line this season with Drake Caggiula and Brock Boeser, Schmaltz was third on the Fighting Hawks in scoring with 46 points (11G-35A) in 37 games. He scored one of the biggest goals in school history in the final minute against Denver in the Frozen Four semifinals to snap a streak of six consecutive trips to the national semifinals ending with a loss. North Dakota went on to win the 2016 national championship two nights later.

The 20 year-old Verona, WI native has also represented the United States in each of the past two U-20 World Junior Championships, finishing with 8 points (2G-6A) in 7 games during the most recent WJC.

SB Nation College Hockey had Schmaltz as the 8th-best NHL prospect playing college hockey last season:

Schmaltz made a big leap from year one to year two in college hockey, going from a talented, but young supporting player to centering one of the most dominating lines in college hockey this year.

Schmaltz has always been a pass-first playmaker. While that is where he feels the most comfortable, he's put in a lot of work over the past year to become a more complete player. That effort yielded results as he doubled his goal total from five to 10 this year. He's also accepted more defensive responsibility, as evidence by his move to center, and has worked hard to become a more consistent night-in, night-out type of player.

Schmaltz is the fifth Fighting Hawk to leave the defending national champions with eligibility remaining. That total includes Luke Johnson, who previously signed with Chicago in April.